Institute of Astronomy

Protoplanetary Disc Evolution

Cathie Clarke leads a group that studies the hydrodynamics of (potentially planet bearing) discs around young stars - recent focuses include the evolution of dust and gas in self-gravitating discs and the issue of disc photoevaporation by Xrays from the young star. Many of the projects relate to finding innovative ways of incorporating radiative physics within hydrodynamical codes.

Movie 1

Movie1 shows a grid based hydrodynamical simulation of Xray photoevaporation by PhD student James Owen which shows gas being stripped off the surface of the disc.

Movie 2

Movie2 tracks the resulting evolution of the disc's surface density profile (blue) compared with a control simulation without Xrays (red). This demonstrates that evaporation creates a hole in the inner disc which rapidly expands to engulf the entire disc, a process with important implications for the formation of planets.

Page last updated: 25 February 2011 at 16:42