Evolved planetary systems around white dwarfs
The discovery of the first extra-solar planet around a main-sequence star in 1995 has changed the way we think about the Universe: our solar system is not unique. Twenty years later, we know that planetary systems are ubiquitous, orbit stars spanning a wide range in mass, and form in an astonishing variety of architectures. I will present an overview of a a relatively new aspect of exo-planet research, i.e. the study of their ultimate fate.
Most planet hosts will eventually evolve into white dwarfs, Earth-sized stellar embers, and the outer parts of their planetary systems (in the solar system, Mars and beyond) can survive largely intact for billions of years. Observational evidence for planetary systems around white dwarfs is ample, including detections of solid planetesimals with orbital periods of only a few hours. Studying these systems provides detailed measurements of the bulk composition of exo-planetesimals, the efficiency of planet formation around stars with ~1-8 solar masses, and insight into the architecture of the outer planetary systems around the white dwarfs, and their progenitors.
Sprecher: Prof. Dr. Boris Gänsicke, University of Warwick
Kontakt: Prof. U. Heber