Institute of Astronomy

- Steven Young


Office: Hoyle H26
Office Tel: (01223) 337511
More Info (Internal)


Research Themes: Star Formation and Exoplanets

Research Keywords: Dynamics, Planets, Solar System


My research focuses on the dynamical evolution of planetary systems once the planet formation stage has ended and the gas disc has dissipated. The orbits of the planets and planetesimals around their host stars then evolve under the influence of the gravity of the nearest and largest bodies and evidence for this is seen in our own solar system: for example, the Kirkwood gaps in the asteroid belt and the resonance trapping of Kuiper belt objects by Neptune. Observations of exoplanetary systems have yielded results that are difficult to interpret without accounting for the influence of the gravity of giant planets or companion stars.

My current research focuses mainly on one specific type of dynamical interaction: the Kozai-Lidov mechanism. This occurs when the orbits of two bodies are highly misaligned with each other, if the misalignment is large enough then the orbits of the bodies can evolve to extremely high eccentricities and hence be seen to transit very close to their host stars. This is one possible explanation for observed exocomet transits, if any giant planets or wide binary companion stars are highly misaligned to a belt of planetesimals, then the planetesimals could evolve to high eccentricity orbits through the action of the Kozai-Lidov mechanism. My current work focuses on quantifying how often this is likely to occur, and hence whether it could explain the observations.

My primary supervisor is Professor Mark Wyatt and my secondary supervisor is Dr Amy Bonsor.


PhD: Astronomy, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge (2019-Present)

MSci: Natural Sciences (Astrophysics), University of Cambridge (2018-2019)

BA, MA: Natural Sciences (Physics), University of Cambridge (2015-2018) 

Page last updated: 4 June 2022 at 23:38