Michael Cecil

Michael Cecil   (Austria)

cecil @ mpia.de

SETI: The Stability and Evolution of The Inner edge of protoplanetary disks

Recent observations made by the Kepler space telescope mission have revealed the frequent presence of Earth- and Super-Earth-sized planets in close proximity of their host star, many of them at distances of less than 1 AU. This fascinating finding raises the question of how such planets and planetary systems can be formed.

The answer to this question can only be found by investigating the structure and evolution of the inner regions of protoplanetary disks. A very promising candidate for a mechanism to produce favorable conditions for planet formation in the inner disk region is the trap for solid material located at the inner edge of the low-turbulent dead-zone. Viscous evolution combined with irradiation- and accretion-heating can lead to an oscillation of this inner dead-zone edge, which can have important consequences for the location of dust traps, the accretion rate onto the star and the dynamical and thermal evolution of the inner and outer disk regions.

With the SETI project, we intend to conduct fully radiation-hydrodynamic, long-term 2D simulations of the inner parts of protoplanetary disks. In our models, we include various relevant physical processes in order to properly and carefully investigate the structure and dynamical evolution of the dead-zone inner edge. We expect to get insights into the timescale and amplitude of the thermal-instability-induced oscillations and the consequences for the accretion rate onto the star. We are comparing these accretion variations to observations of e.g. EXors observations which show periodic accretion outburst events. Further, we learn about the locations and evolution of dust and pebble traps in these inner disk regions by investigating the time-evolution of radial drift and concentration of solid material.

With that, we intend to provide crucial insights for the advancement of our understanding of the formation of close-in multiplanetary systems.

Supervisor:    Mario Flock (MPIA)

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