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Astrophysics Colloquium

A New Generation of Planetary Population Syntheses
Presented by Christoph Mordasini
University of Bern, Switzerland

Thursday, April 4, 2019
11:00 A.M. in 169-336

Abstract
Large space-based missions (like Kepler, TESS, WFIRST, PLATO) and the associated follow-up observations are instrumental in putting unprecedented constraints on the statistical properties of planetary populations in terms of their system architectures, frequencies, distribution functions of radii and orbital distances, but also the planets' bulk composition. In this talk we present results of a new generation of large scale simulations of the assembly and evolution of planetary systems. For this, we have simulated the formation and evolution of 1000 planetary systems, varying the initial disk properties (mass, metallicity, lifetime) in a Monte Carlo fashion. Each system initially contains 100 Mars-mass embryos. These protoplanets accrete background planetesimals and gas (found via the direct solution of the 1D internal structure equations), undergo orbital migration (non-isothermal Type I and Type II) in a time-evolving protoplanetary disk (alpha-disk with irradiation and photoevaporation), and, importantly, interact via the explicit calculation of their gravitational interactions (using the Mercury N-body integrator). The later may result in captures into mean motion resonances, scattering, collisions, and ejections. The formation phase of the systems is simulated for 20 Myr. Afterwards, we follow the thermodynamical evolution of the individual planets (cooling and contraction) including the effects of atmospheric escape and stellar tides.

These large scale simulations may be among the most comprehensive simulations of combined planetary growth and evolution ever made. We compare the statistical properties of the synthetic systems with observations, highlight where agreement, and where disagreement is found, and link them to the underlying physical processes and assumptions in the model.

JPL Contact: Neal Turner (3-0049)


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