Habitable Planet Formation in Binary-Planetary Systems

Research paper by Nader Haghighipour, Sean N. Raymond

Indexed on: 27 Feb '07Published on: 27 Feb '07Published in: Astrophysics


Recent radial velocity observations have indicated that Jovian-type planets can exist in moderately close binary star systems. Numerical simulations of the dynamical stability of terrestrial-class planets in such environments have shown that, in addition to their giant planets, these systems can also harbor Earth-like objects. In this paper, we study the late stage of terrestrial planet formation in such binary-planetary systems, and present the results of the simulations of the formation of Earth-like bodies in their habitable zones. We consider a circumprimary disk of Moon- to Mars-sized objects and numerically integrate the orbits of these bodies at the presence of the Jovian-type planet of the system and for different values of the mass, semimajor axis, and orbital eccentricity of the secondary star. Results indicate that, Earth-like objects, with substantial amounts of water, can form in the habitable zone of the primary star. Simulations also indicate that, by transferring angular momentum from the secondary star to protoplanetary objects, the giant planet of the system plays a key role in the radial mixing of these bodies and the water contents of the final terrestrial planets. We will discuss the results of our simulation and show that the formation of habitable planets in binary-planetary systems is more probable in binaries with moderate to large perihelia.