Greetings and hope you have a wonderful new year!
I haven’t posted anything in a while because I’m really busy with my third story, yet I found a nice thing to bring to my readers and continue this blog’s thematic tradition. So this month’s and year’s first post will be about calculating the habitable zone of multiple star systems.
The habitability of a planet depends on many factors, including size, atmospheric composition, and orbital dynamics of the planet. In addition to that it also depends on the total flux received at the top of the planet’s atmosphere and the stellar multiplicity plays an important role in determining the range and location of the system’s habitable zone.
Surveys of star-forming regions have indicated that approximately 70% of all stars in our galaxy are in binary or multiple star systems (Batten et al. 1989), so naturally such abundance raised the question that whether multi-star planetary systems can be habitable.
Depending on their surface temperatures and orbital characteristics, each star of the system will have a different contribution to the total flux at the location of the planet.
A comprehensive methodology and an interactive website for calculating the habitable zone (HZ) of multiple star systems is described in the recent paper. There you’ll find the details of the methods and their application to some of the multiple star systems detected by the Kepler space telescope, as well as instructions for using their interactive website with the habzone calculator. Its capabilities are demonstrated by calculating the HZ for two interesting analytical solutions of the three-body problem.