Journal Article

Oscillations in the habitable zone around <i>α</i> Centauri B

Duncan Forgan

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 422, issue 2, pages 1241-1249
Published in print May 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Oscillations in the habitable zone around α Centauri B

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


Show Summary Details


The α Cen AB system is an attractive one for radial velocity observations to detect potential exoplanets. The high metallicity of both α Cen A and B suggests that they could have possessed circumstellar discs capable of forming planets. As the closest star system to the Sun, with well over a century of accurate astrometric measurements (and α Cen B exhibiting low chromospheric activity), high-precision surveys of α Cen B’s potential exoplanetary system are possible with relatively cheap instrumentation. Authors studying habitability in this system typically adopt habitable zones (HZs) based on global radiative balance models that neglect the radiative perturbations of α Cen A.

We investigate the habitability of planets around α Cen B using one-dimensional latitudinal energy balance models (LEBMs), which fully incorporate the presence of α Cen A as a means of astronomically forcing terrestrial planet climates. We find that the extent of the HZ is relatively unchanged by the presence of α Cen A, but there are variations in fractional habitability for planets orbiting at the boundaries of the zone due to α Cen A, even in the case of zero eccentricity. Temperature oscillations of a few K can be observed at all planetary orbits, the strength of which varies with the planet’s ocean fraction and obliquity.

Keywords: astrobiology; radiative transfer; planets and satellites: general

Journal Article.  6079 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.