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Exoplanets and stellar clusters

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 12:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • CASA Conference Room C324

Speaker Name(s): 

Melvyn Davies

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysics Lunch Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

Stellar birth environments are dangerous environments for planetary systems. I will describe how planetary systems are vulnerable to perturbations from passing stars and stellar companions within stellar clusters. These perturbations may lead to a chain of events that result in the ejection of some planets, leaving those remaining on tighter, and eccentric, orbits. Planetary systems may exchange into binary systems and then the stellar companion may perturb planetary orbits via the Kozai mechanism. I will show how this can lead to strong dynamical interactions between planets in a planetary system, with some planets being ejected. In some cases, planets placed on extremely eccentric orbits may form hot jupiters via tidal interactions. By using full N-body calculations of young stellar clusters, I quantify the frequency of both fly-by encounters and binary-exchange encounters, and also the frequency of close encounters involving protoplanetary discs. I compute the fraction of planetary systems likely to emerge unscathed from a stellar cluster.