Presented by kyle thompson and ginny connor
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Presented by: Kyle Thompson and Ginny Connor. The Effect of a Strong Stellar Flare on the Atmospheric Chemistry of an Earth-like Planet Orbiting an M Dwarf. Overview. The abundance of M Dwarfs A solar flare’s impact on atmospheric ozone Two distinct tests With charged particles

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Presented by: Kyle Thompson and Ginny Connor

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Presented by:

Kyle Thompson and Ginny Connor

The Effect of a Strong Stellar Flare on the Atmospheric Chemistry of an Earth-like Planet Orbiting an M Dwarf


Overview

  • The abundance of M Dwarfs

  • A solar flare’s impact on atmospheric ozone

  • Two distinct tests

    • With charged particles

    • With uncharged (UV radiation only) particles


M Dwarfs

  • Abundant

  • Long living

  • 70% of all stars in our galaxy

  • Infrared radiation

  • Low luminosity stars

    • Closer habitable zone


The Two Tests

  • Charged particles vs. uncharged (UV radiation only) particles

  • Ionizing particles emitted during a flare may be more dangerous depending on how much of the particle flux strikes the planet


Effect on Temperature

  • No significant temperature change for either test

  • Final temperature difference was 0.1 K

  • Greatest difference was observed in the Mesosphere

  • Ozone variations cause temperature fluctuations in the upper atmosphere, but these fluctuations are small, and the climate at the surface is unaffected


Where are the Mesosphere and the Stratosphere located?


Effect on Water Vapor

  • Depleted in the Stratosphere

  • 30 ppmv – 0.3 ppmv


Effect on Ozone Density

  • Noticeable decrease in the Stratosphere during the impulsive phase

  • Continued to increase until the flare ended

  • Much of the potentially life-damaging UV radiation goes into photolyzing ozone in the Stratosphere, which prevents it from reaching the planetary surface


Effect on Total Ozone Column Depth

  • UV radiation only: 1,000 seconds after the flare, depletion was only 1%

  • With charged photons: large effect but stabilizes after 4 months

  • Given that M Dwarfs can be active on timescales of days to weeks, the atmosphere may not return to equilibrium before another flare occurs


Conclusion

  • For an oxygen-rich, Earth-like planet in the habitable zone of an active M Dwarf, stellar flares do not necessarily affect habitability


Works Cited

  • Segura, Antigona, Lucianne M. Walkowicz, Victoria Meadows, James Kasting, and Suzanne Hawley. "The Effect of a Strong Stellar Flare on the Atmospheric Chemistry of an Earth-like Planet Orbiting an M Dwarf." Astrobiology 10.7 (2010): 751-71. Web.


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