Hues of Habitability: Characterizing Pale Blue Dots Around Other Stars
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CitationRugheimer, Sarah M. 2015. Hues of Habitability: Characterizing Pale Blue Dots Around Other Stars. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractA wide range of potentially rocky transiting planets in the habitable zone (HZ) have been detected by Kepler as well as ground-based searches. The spectral type of the host star will influence our ability to detect atmospheric features with future space and ground based missions like JWST, GMT and E-ELT. For my thesis, I present a complete suit of stellar models with a stellar effective temperature ranging from Teff = 2300K to Teff = 7000K, sampling the entire FGKM stellar type range, for modeling extrasolar planets. I also have a grid of model atmospheres for an Earth-analogue planet orbiting stars and derive remotely detectable spectral atmospheric features.
The UV emission from a planet's host star dominates the photochemistry and thus the resultant observable spectral features. Using the latest UV spectra obtained by Hubble as well as IUE, I model Earth-like planets for a wide range of host stars. I detail the results of activity on the primary detectable atmospheric features that indicate habitability on Earth, namely: H2O, O3, CH4, N2O and CH3Cl. I model the emergent spectra of Earth-analogue planets orbiting our grid of FGKM stars in the VIS/NIR (0.4 - 4 microns) and the IR (5 - 20 microns) range in accordance with future mission design concepts like JWST and direct detection missions like HDST/LUVOIR in the more distant horizon. We also model the amount of UV flux reaching the surface of Earth-like planets at various geological epochs ranging from a pre-biotic world through the rise of oxygen and for Earth-like planets orbiting FGKM stars at equivalent stages of evolution.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17467184
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