ProjectEntstehung und frühe Entwicklung von Gasriesen

Basic data

Entstehung und frühe Entwicklung von Gasriesen
01/04/2018 to 31/12/2021
Abstract / short description:
Recent observational efforts have started to reveal a population of young and bright gas giants at large distances from their stars through the technique of direct imaging. Because of their youth, the brightness of these objects still reflects the conditions of their formation and the physical processes that shape them. Even more recently, a few systems have been discovered in which we are witnessing the ongoing formation of gas giants, as revealed by accretion signatures. The issue with these exciting detections, however, is that models are necessary to infer masses from the luminosities but that these models are currently unconstrained at early times. What is thought to be the single most important element setting a planet's luminosity is the radiative accretion shock at the surface of the planet. The extreme outcomes lead to hot and cold starts, respectively, in which the planet begins its post-formation cooling with a high or low luminosity. These differences in luminosity are colossal and, critically, have been hampering a reliable determination of the masses. Therefore, we propose to conduct the first realistic study of the planet accretion shock by performing two-dimensional radiation-hydrodynamical simulations with detailed microphysics. We will focus on the accretion region at the surface of the planet to determine the post-shock conditions as well as the efficiency of the shock, i.e., the fraction of the incoming kinetic energy which is lost as radiation. In view of the magnetospheric-accretion picture, we will also include the effects of a magnetic field. These results will enable us to predict the luminosity of gas giants after their formation and as well as to provide input to simulations of the observational appearance of (embedded) accreting planets and their thermo-chemical feedback on the disk. This research is designed as a series of smaller tasks which extend and combine existing tools. In view of near-future direct detections, this makes the proposed research a low-risk, high-impact project.
formation of planets
radiative transfer

Involved staff


Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAAT)
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

Contact persons

Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAAT)
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science
CRC-TR 7 - Gravitational Wave Astronomy
Collaborative research centers and transregios
Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAAT)
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAAT)
Department of Physics
Faculty of Science


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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