Test spectra grid and observables of spectra of Earth-like planets through geological times around different host stars

Friday 6 July, 10:40

We expect to observe a wide variety of atmospheres and planets with alternative evolutionary paths, with some planets resembling Earth at different epochs. Using Earth as a Rosetta stone, we modeled a grid of spectra for Earth-like planets for future observations of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres for planets at different stages of geological evolution. For an Earth-like atmospheric time trajectory, we simulate planets from prebiotic to current atmosphere based on geological data and explore whether biosignatures could be detectable around different host stars and for how long. We use a stellar grid F0V to M8V to model four geological epochs of Earth's history corresponding to a prebiotic world (3.9Ga), the rise of oxygen at 2.0Ga and at 0.8Ga, and the modern Earth. We show the VIS - IR spectral features. We also focus on the effect of clouds on their spectra. We find that the observability of biosignature gases reduces with increasing cloud cover and increases with planetary age. The observability of the visible O2 feature for lower concentrations will partly depend on clouds, which while slightly reducing the feature increase the overall reflectivity thus the detectable flux of a planet. The depth of the IR ozone feature contributes substantially to the opacity at lower oxygen concentrations especially for the high near-UV stellar environments around F stars. Our results are a grid of model spectra for atmospheres representative of Earth's geological history to inform future observations and instrument design and are publicly available online at www.carlsaganinstitute.org/data.

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