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DIX Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, March 14, 2023
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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South Mudd 365
The Influence of Tidal Heating on the Habitability of Planets Orbiting White Dwarfs
Juliette Becker, 51 Peg Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Planetary Science, Caltech,

In recent years, there have been a growing number of observations indicating the presence of rocky material in short-period orbits around white dwarfs. In addition to the typically considered radiative input luminosity, potentially habitable planets around white dwarfs are also subjected to significant tidal heating. The combination of these two heating sources can, for a narrow range of planetary properties and orbital parameters, continuously maintain surface temperatures amenable for habitability for planets around white dwarfs over time scales exceeding the current age of the universe. We show that for a specific locus of orbital parameter space, tidal heating can substantially extend the timescale of continuous habitability for a planet around a white dwarf. Moving forward, tidal heating and the thermal evolution of planetary interiors must be considered to fully understand the orbital evolution of planets orbiting dead stars.

For more information, please contact Ryleigh Davis by email at [email protected].