Institute of Astronomy

Radiation feedback in high and low mass star and planet formation

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Barbara Ercolano, IoA, Cambridge13 May 2010Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


Star formation plays a major role in the evolution of our Universe and
understanding the circumstellar (CS) environment of protostars and young
stars can also provide crucial information on how planets form.

A number of unsolved problems in high and low mass star and planet
formation depend on our understanding of the way radiation from newly born
stars interacts with their circumstellar environments. In this talk I will
review some of the open questions that relate to this radiation feeback,
as well as outline how these are currently being or will be tackled in the
near future.

In particular I will present some of our recent results on the evolution
and dispersal of protoplanetary disks irradiated by active young stellar
objects (YSOs). Through detailed thermochemical and hydrodynamical
simulations we find that that X-rays from the central YSOs may drive
powerful outflows which may be responsible for the dispersal of the disks.
The timescales for dispersal have direct consequences on planet formation,
which will also be discussed.

Moving onto larger scales I will show how massive OB stars can shape their
surrounding by means of ionising radiation influencing the formation of
successive generation of stars, and driving turbulence in the interstellar

During the course of my talk a brief introduction will be given to the 3D
photoionisation and dust radiative transfer Monte Carlo code, MOCASSIN
(Ercolano et al., 2003, 2005, 2008), which is a crucial tool for the study
of radiation trasport in complex density and radiation fields.


Presentation unavailable