Institute of Astronomy

Dr Amy Bonsor


Personal Homepage

Office: Hoyle H31
Office Tel: (01223) 765845
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Research Themes: Star Formation and Exoplanets

Research Keywords: Dynamics, Planets, Theory


  • Exoplanets

  • Debris discs

  • White Dwarf Planetary Systems

  • Planetary System Dynamics

  • Rocky Planet Formation

  • Geology in rocky exoplanetary systems

  • Planetary Systems around Evolved Stars


I am particularly interested in how planetary systems form and how they evolve. We live in an epoch of exoplanetary discovery. My work focuses on interpreting what these new discoveries mean for the planetary system as a whole. What are they key processes that dominate the evolution of planetary systems? How do planets, comets, asteroid and dust interact? Can we study the geology of rocky exoplanetary systems today?

A large proportion of my work focuses on the unique opportunity of planetary systems around white dwarfs to inform our understanding of the evolution of planetary systems, the composition and geology of exoplanetary bodies. Outer planetary systems should survive the star's evolution through to the white dwarf phase. We can observe these systems via the tiny portion of planetary bodies that end up scattered close enough to the star that they are disrupted and accreted. These observations provide a unique window onto the composition of exoplanetary material, as the abundances of individual species are seen in the spectra of this polluted white dwarf, which should normally only contain hydrogen or helium lines.


Selected papers

Wyatt, M. C., Bonsor, A., Jackson, A. P., Marino, S., Shannon, A. How to design a planetary system for different scattering outcomes: giant impact sweet spot, maximizing exocomets, scattered discs, MNRAS, 464, 3385 pdf

Xu, S., Bonsor, A., White Dwarf Planetary Systems: insights regarding the fate of planetary systems pdf

Bonsor, A. , Farihi, J., Wyatt, M. C., Van Lieshout, R., Infrared observations of white dwarfs and the implications for the accretion of dusty planetary material, MNRAS, 468, 154 pdf

Marino, S., Wyatt, M. C., Panic, O., Matra, L., Kennedy, G. M., Bonsor, A., Kral, Q., Dent, W. R. F, Duchene, G., Wilner, D., ALMA observations of the $eta$ Corvi debris disc: inward scattering of CO-rich exocomets by a chain of 3-30 Mearth planets?, MNRAS, accepted pdf

Shannon, A., Bonsor, A., Kral, Q., Matthews, E., The unseen planets of double belt debris disk systems, MNRAS, 2016, 462, 116 pdf

Bonsor, A., Veras, D., A wide binary trigger for white dwarf pollution, MNRAS, 2015, 454, 53 pdf

June 2014 - June 2015 Maternity Leave

Veras, D., Leinhardt, Z. M., Bonsor, A., Gaensicke, B. T., Formation of planetary debris discs around white dwarfs - I. Tidal disruption of an extremely eccentric asteroid, MNRAS, 2014, 445, 2224 pdf

Farihi,J., Wyatt,M.C., Greaves,J.S., Bonsor, A., Sibthorpe, B., Panic, O., ALMA and Herschel observations of the prototype dusty and polluted white dwarf G29-38, MNRAS,2014,444, 1821 pdf

Bonsor, A., Leinhardt, Z. M., Carter, P.J., Elliot, T., Walter, M.J., Stewart, S. T., A Collisional Origin to Earth's Non-chondritic Composition?, Icarus,2014, 247, 291 pdf

Ertel,S., Absil,O., Defrere,D., Le Bouquin, J.-B ., Augereau, J.-C., Marion,L., Blind,N., Bonsor, A., Bryden, G., Lebreton, J., Milli, J.,A near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disk stars. IV. An unbiased sample of 92 southern stars observed in H band with VLTI/PIONIER, A&A, 2014, 570, 128 pdf

Raymond, S., Bonsor, A., Vega's hot dust from icy planetesimals scattered inward by an outward-migrating planetary system, MNRAS, 2014, 444, 18 pdf

Bonsor, A., Raymond, S., Augereau, J.-C., Ormel, C., Planetesimal driven migration as an explanation for observations of high levels of warm, exozodiacal dust, MNRAS, 2014, 441, 2380 pdf

Jackson, A. P., Wyatt, M. C., Bonsor, A. & Veras, D., Debris froms giant impacts between planetary embryos at large orbital radi, MNRAS, 2014, 440, 3757-3777 pdf

Faramaz, V., Beust, H., Thebault, P., Augereau, J.-C., Bonsor, A., del Burgo, C., Ertel, S., Marshall, J. P., Milli, J., Montesinos, B., Mora, A., Bryden, G., Danchi, W., Eiroa, C., White, G. J. & Wolf, S., Can eccentric debris disks be long-lived?. A first numerical investigation and application to zeta2 Reticuli, A&A, 2014, 563, A72 pdf

Bonsor, A., Kennedy, G. M., Wyatt, M. C., Johnson, J. A. & Sibthorpe, B., Herschel observations of debris discs orbiting planet-hosting subgiants, MNRAS, 2014, 437, 3288 pdf

Wyatt, M. C., Farihi, J., Pringle, J. E. & Bonsor, A., Stochastic accretion of planetesimals on to white dwarfs: constraints on the mass distribution of accreted material from atmospheric pollution, MNRAS, 2014, 439, 3371 pdf

Beust, H., Augereau, J.-C.,Bonsor, A., Graham, J. R., Kalas, P., Lebreton, J., Lagrange, A.-M., Ertel, S., Faramaz, V. & Thébault, P., An independent determination of Fomalhaut b's orbit and the dynamical effects on the outer dust belt, A&A, 2014, 561, A43 pdf

Bonsor, A., Raymond, S., Augereau, J.-C., The short-lived production of exozodiacal dust in the aftermath of a dynamical instability in planetary systems, MNRAS, 2013,433, 2938, pdf

Bonsor, A., Kennedy, G. Crepp, J., Johnson, J., Wyatt, M.C. and Sibthorpe, B, Spatially Resolved Images of Dust Belt(s) Around the Planet-hosting Subgiant Kappa CrB, MNRAS, 431, 3025-3035pdf

Veras, D., Mustill, A. J., Bonsor, A., Wyatt, M.C., Simulations of two-planet systems through all phases of stellar evolution: implications for the instability boundary and white dwarf pollution, MNRAS, 431,1686-1708, pdf

Su, K. Y. L., Rieke, G. H., Malhotra, R., Stapelfeldt, K. R., Hughes, M., Bonsor, A., Wilner, D. J., Balog, Z., Watson, D. M., Werner, M. W., Misselt, K. A., Asteroid belts in debris disk twins: Vega and Fomalhaut, ApJ, 763, 118 pdf

Bonsor, A., Augereau J.-C., & Thebault, P., 2012, Scattering of small bodies by planets: a potential origin for exozodiacal dust?, A&A, in press, pdf

THESIS Bonsor, Amy, October 2011, 'Post-main Sequence Evolution of Planetary Systems' pdf

Bonsor, A., Wyatt, M.C., 2011,'The scattering of small bodies in planetary systems: constraints on the possible orbits of cometary material.', MNRAS,420, 2990, pdf

Veras, Dimitri; Wyatt, Mark C.; Mustill, Alexander J.; Bonsor, Amy; Eldridge, John J.,'The great escape: how exoplanets and smaller bodies desert dying stars', MNRAS, 417, 104, pdf

Bonsor, A., Mustill, A. J., Wyatt, M.C., 2010, 'Dynamical effects of stellar mass loss on Kuiper-like belts.', MNRAS, 414, 930. pdf

Bonsor & Wyatt, 2010,'Post-main-sequence evolution of A star debris discs', MNRAS, 409, 1631. pdf


Jan 2017 - present Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow, IoA, Cambridge

Jul 2015-Dec 2016 : Research Associate, IoA, Cambridge

Sep 2013- June 2015: Research Associate, University of Bristol

Nov 2011-Aug 2013: Research Associate, IPAG, Grenoble, France

Page last updated: 2 January 2018 at 06:33