Christian Lenz (Germany)
lenz @ mpia.de
Planetesimal Formation and Evolution within a Parameterized Model
Nowadays, the theory that planets are formed out of gravitationally self-binding boulders is widely accepted. These planetary building blocks are called planetesimals and it is still under debate how they formed since fragmentation events and drift may hinder further growth. The initial spatial planetesimal distribution in protoplanetary disks and their subsequent collisional evolution (i.e. growth, accretion, and fragmentation processes) is still unknown. Recent work has shown that planetesimals are born big and that there may be a typical size. We use use a parameterized (toy) model where pebbles get trapped in pressure bumps (e.g. vortices or zonal flows) and form planetesimals by gravitational collapse with a characteristic diameter of 100 km if enough mass is accumulated within one trap lifetime. Furthermore, we aim to find the feeding zone of planetesimals, i.e. the origin of their material before they started drifting.
Supervisor: Hubert Klahr (MPIA)