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Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1997 Aug;27(4):413-20.

Ultraviolet radiation from F and K stars and implications for planetary habitability.

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  • 1Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.
  • 2PA St U, University Park

Abstract

Now that extrasolar planets have been found, it is timely to ask whether some of them might be suitable for life. Climatic constraints on planetary habitability indicate that a reasonably wide habitable zone exists around main sequence stars with spectral types in the early-F to mid-K range. However, it has not been demonstrated that planets orbiting such stars would be habitable when biologically-damaging energetic radiation is also considered. The large amounts of UV radiation emitted by early-type stars have been suggested to pose a problem for evolving life in their vicinity. But one might also argue that the real problem lies with late-type stars, which emit proportionally less radiation at the short wavelengths (lambda < 200 nm) required to split O2 and initiate ozone formation. We show here that neither of these concerns is necessarily fatal to the evolution of advanced life: Earth-like planets orbiting F and K stars may well receive less harmful UV radiation at their surfaces than does the Earth itself.

PMID:
11536831
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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