Katja Reichert (Germany)
reichert @ stud.uni-heidelberg.de
How planetary systems are shaped by their birthplace - computer modelling of planetary systems embedded in star clusters
Young stars are almost exclusively found in groups, suggesting that most stars - and hence also most planets - form in stellar associations or clusters. Our Solar System is also thought to have formed in a clustered environment since isotopic ratios in meteorites indicate the occurrence of a supernova explosion close to the solar protoplanetary disk. Some star clusters dissolve within tens of millions of years but some also survive for hundreds of millions of years. In such environments, close stellar encounters are frequent, significantly affecting the dynamical architectures and stability of the planetary systems around those stars. We want to find out whether - and if so, to what extent - the currently observed diverse planetary systems still contain some key information about the conditions at the time they were formed in a stellar association or open cluster. To follow the dynamical evolution of planetary systems in star clusters we use N-body codes and current supercomputing hardware.
Supervisor: Rainer Spurzem (ARI)