Mark Wyatt

My research mostly focusses on the formation and evolution of stars and their planetary systems. In particular I am interested in the dusty debris material that surrounds some stars, including the Sun, during their main sequence phase. The dust is heated by the star and is observed by its thermal emission in the mid-IR to sub-mm; this thermal emission is detected either as an excess above the star's photospheric emission or as emission that is extended from the otherwise point-like star. In the few (6 as of 12/9/00) cases where the dust emission has been mapped, it is seen to lie in a disk around the star. It is thought that in much the same way that the disk of dust in the solar system, i.e., the zodiacal cloud, is created by the break-up of the solar system's asteroids and comets, this exozodiacal dust is also the end product of the break-up of the remnants of the system's planetary formation phase. As Vega was the first main sequence star other than the Sun that was shown to exhibit infrared emission in excess of its photospheric emission, stars with similar excesses are known as Vega-type stars. Whether their excess really is debris disk emission, and what these debris disks can tell us about how these stars formed and the status of planetary formation within them, is the subject of my research.

The research can be broken down into four main areas:

The following publications are available for download:
Notes from the following lecture courses are available for download:
The following presentations are also available for download: