There is a lot of new data from the various extrasolar planet projects including NASA's Kepler mission on extra-solar planets. Based on our current data what is the probability that a star of each of the main spectral types (O, B, A, etc) will have a planetary system?
Almost all exoplanets observed are near F, G, and K stars. In part, this is because astronomers are looking for earth-like planets, so they look at stars similar to our Sun, but there are also some physical reasons. Sahu et al (2006) have provided some evidence that red dwarfs (class M) are more likely to have planets than other spectral types, though it is hardly conclusive; in any case, planets have been observed around red dwarfs.
No exoplanets have been observed around very massive UV stars (O and B spectral types), and only a few around still-large A-stars. This is probably because very massive stars blast away the protoplanetary disk before accretion allows formation of planets. This was covered in a recent paper by Gorti and Hollenbach (2009).
Incidentally, the most important predictor of whether a given star will have planets is its metallicity. This has been known for quite a while, but Geoff Marcy and company found this most dramatically in a 2005 survey - they estimate that 25% of high-metallicity stars have planets, while only 3% of low-metallicity stars have planets. It's not totally understood why planetary formation depends so strongly on metallicity, but many reasons have been proposed: metallic stars have lower stellar winds, less total UV flux, and their protoplanetary disks are probably more enriched with silicon and iron, which speeds up planet formation.
|show 1 more comment|
Given what we know about planetary formation (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3 and Link 4), and the theories around it, it would probably be a safe bet to say that ALL stars end up having some left over material that might become planets. I think the bigger question is how many of those planetary orbits stay stable enough throughout the life of the star?
All these links aside, I think that it would just be supposition to declare with any certainty that the chance is 100% or 90%, or whatever number you want to choose. We are still trying to gather the data. And our instrumentation is inadequate to the task at hand. We have a bias towards detecting larger planets (up until the Kepler mission). And the Kepler mission is only looking at a small portion of the sky, and will only detect transiting planets, thereby missing all the systems that are tilted relative to us.
The intellectually honest answer is, "We don't know." However, it's a great excuse to explore more and find out.
This question was asked a couple of years ago and things have changed since then.
We now know that small planets are found around stars across a broad range of metallicities and that it is only the existence of giant planets that are affected by low metallicity. Nature article here.
It was previously thought that small planets were more common around small stars but the latest Kepler results show that small planets are equally common around stars of all spectral types. See this AAS press conference.