Pervasive orbital eccentricities dictate the habitability of extrasolar earths

Ryosuke Kita*, Frederic Rasio, Genya Takeda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The long-term habitability of Earth-like planets requires low orbital eccentricities. A secular perturbation from a distant stellar companion is a very important mechanism in exciting planetary eccentricities, as many of the extrasolar planetary systems are associated with stellar companions. Although the orbital evolution of an Earth-like planet in a stellar binary system is well understood, the effect of a binary perturbation on a more realistic system containing additional gas-giant planets has been very little studied. Here, we provide analytic criteria confirmed by a large ensemble of numerical integrations that identify the initial orbital parameters leading to eccentric orbits. We show that an extrasolar earth is likely to experience a broad range of orbital evolution dictated by the location of a gas-giant planet, which necessitates more focused studies on the effect of eccentricity on the potential for life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-741
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Extrasolar planets
  • Extrasolar terrestrial planets
  • Habitability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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