I understand that an accurate determination of the bounds of the "habitable zone" for a given stellar system depends on a large number of factors, including many beyond characteristics of the parent star, such as details of planetary atmosphere and residual heat of formation, system age and dynamics, etc.; but is there a simple first approximation formula that is generally used?

Is there a simple formula for approximating the semimajor axis bounds of "habitable zone" using only the luminosity of the parent star? What is the next factor (metallicity, age?) that would come into play in calculating the habitable zone with the next level of accuracy?


1 Answer 1


inner radius of habitable zone (AU) $= \sqrt{\frac{L}{1.1}}$

outer radius of habitable zone (AU) $= \sqrt{\frac{L}{0.53}}$

where $L$ is absolute luminosity of the star.

See Calculating the Habitable Zone for more information.


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