Habitable planets around M dwarfs: challenges and posibilities
Our best candidates for studying potentially habitable planets are around main sequence M stars, Proxima Centauria and TRAPPIST-1. On one hand, rocky planets are easier to detect around low mass stars with current techniques and instruments. Red dwarfs are abundant in the solar neighbourhood and they spend ~1010 years in the main sequence, and biosignatures like N2O and CH4 may be more abundant and potentially easier to detect. On the other hand, these stars exhibit magnetic activity originated by the interaction of their atmospheres with their magnetic fields driven by their mostly or totally convective interiors. One consequence of magnetic activity are flares. During flares the luminosity of the star in the X-ray, UV and visible increases up to 3 orders of magnitude, which may be detrimental to a planet in the habitable zone of those stars.
On this talk I will present the characteristics of M dwarfs that make the habitability and life detection of planets around them a matter of debate.
About the talk
Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares UNAM