Tidal evolution of planets and their host stars
I modeled the interaction between known exoplanets and their host stars as the stars evolved from the main sequence to the end (tip) of the red giant branch. The goal was to find out how many of these planets will be consumed (or accreted) by their stars and whether the planet accretion could make their host stars rotate rapidly. This study was not the first to consider whether planets would survive their host stars' evolution; however, it was different from earlier studies in that it made no assumptions about the distributions of stellar and planetary properties. Rather, the individual planetary systems were "evolved" themselves to see which stars would become rapid rotators during their red giant branch evolution. The results of this simulation were published in 2009.
Click on the picture to the right to see an animation of exoplanet host stars evolving in temperature and surface gravity. (Note the base of the red giant branch, or RGB, begins near Teff = 5000 K and log g = 4)
A brief list of some other projects I have worked on (not related to planet engulfment) include...
- Simulating the influence of binary stars to the radial velocity measurements of the APOGEE project.
- Looking for over-densities in the distribution of M giants in the 2MASS database. (See our paper.) Stellar over-densities may indicate the presence of galactic substructures in the Milky Way's halo.
- Modeling the spectra of symbiotic binary stars (red giant + white dwarf systems) to determine whether an accretion disk exists. (See our paper for the EG And system.)