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The Almighty Quasar — Destroyer of Worlds
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Observational Astronomy.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the study of habitability of terrestrial exoplanets, both life-supporting conditions and the prevalence of transient life-threatening events need to be considered. One type of hazardous effect that has so far not received much attention is the thermal effect of a nearby active galactic nucleus (AGN), or in this particular case, the class of the AGN known as a quasar. In this work we investigate the thermal effect from a quasar by calculating the number of habitable terrestrial planets (HTP) in an elliptical or bulge-dominated galaxy, that goes extinct when exposed to the quasar radiation in a limited wavelength range. This is done by approximations and modelling along with pre-existing formulas and data from earlier publications. As a result, the influence by a quasar during the time span of quasar activity will have a less significant impact on the habitability in solar-type stellar systems than expected. Assuming tQSO = 108 yrs of quasar activity, results in the number of affected HTP, ≈ 1 × 105, 9 × 105 and 4 × 108 for isotropic spherical radiation and ≈ 1 × 106, 8 × 106 and 3 × 109 for a double-conical radiation. In terms of stellar mass fraction, ≈ 1.3%, 1.0%, 0.4% for isotropic radiation and ≈ 12.8%, 9.5%, 3.8% for conical, is affected. The results of this work are hoped to provide a rough estimation of the thermal impacts of a quasar on the habitability as well as to point out the most important parameters when considering this model.

Abstract [sv]

I studier om beboeligheten på jordlika exoplaneter övervägs både förutsätningar för liv på planeten men även livshotande händelser i planetens närhet. En typ av farlig effekt som hit- intills inte fått mycket uppmärksamhet, är det termiska effekterna från en aktiv galaxkärna (AGN) eller som i detta fall, AGN-typen kvasar. I detta arbete studeras de termiska effekterna från en kvasar genom att beräkna antalet beboeliga jordlika exoplaneter (HTP) i en elliptisk eller bulge-dominerad galax, (bulge-centralförtätning), som blir obeboeliga då de utsätts för kvasarens strålning i ett begränsat våglängdsområde. Detta görs genom antaganden och modellering av redan befintliga formler och data från tidigare publikationer. Detta resulterar i en mindre inverkan av kvasaren på system kring sollika stjärnor än förväntat. Antaget tQSO =108 år av kvasar-aktivitet ger antal påverkade HTP, ≈ 1 × 105, 9 × 105 och 4 × 108 vid isotropisk strålning och 1 × 106, 8 × 106 och 3 × 109 vid dubbel-konisk formad strålning. Uttryckt i andel stjärnmassa motsvarar detta ≈ 1.3%, 1.0%, 0.4% för sfäriskt fall och ≈ 12.8%, 9.5%, 3.8% vid koniskt. Detta arbete hoppas kunna ge on grov uppfattning om kvasarens termiska effekter på beboligheten men även identifiera det mest betydande parametrarna i denna modell.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 35
Series
FYSAST ; FYSKAND1106
Keywords [en]
Astronomy, Habitability, Quasars, Active galactic nucleus, AGN
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-388734OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-388734DiVA, id: diva2:1335118
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Physics
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-05 Created: 2019-07-03 Last updated: 2019-07-05Bibliographically approved

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