Accretion discs, Astrophysical dynamos, Planetary formation, Exoplanet systems, Solar and stellar phenomena and non equilibrium physical processes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics

Abstract

This is a proposal to investigate a number of phenomena: The first is astrophysical discs. These objects are common, being found in close binary systems, active galactic nuclei, and around newly formed stars. There they provide the environment for planet formation. We propose in depth studies of these objects to establish the physical conditions that apply, for instance the degree of turbulence, the magnetic field strength, the amount of anomalous transport and whether the discs remain circular. We then intend to investigate the effects of this environment on forming planets and their orbital migration. If inward, this natuarlly leads on to a consideration of tidal interaction with the central star which may cause heating and inflation, which appears to be common, or even coallescence with the central star. Such a study requires a fully nonlinear tidal theory for general orbits that we intend to develop. The second investigation relates to solar type stars which many extrasolar planets orbit. It accordingly connects with the investigation of tidal interaction. This investigation is directed towards understanding the behaviour of the solar dynamo and how magnetic flux emerges at the surface. This can be determined from Hinode obsrvations of active regions. Both analytic and numerical studies of dynamo processes will be undertaken together with improved modeling of the solar tachocline which may play an important role in generating toroidal field that rises buoyantly to the surface.

Publications

10 25 50
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Alexander C (2011) Hinode observations and 3D magnetic structure of an X-ray bright point in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Balbus S (2009) Differential rotation and convection in the Sun in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Balbus S (2010) Differential rotation in fully convective stars in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Barker A (2010) On internal wave breaking and tidal dissipation near the centre of a solar-type star in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Barker A (2009) On the tidal evolution of Hot Jupiters on inclined orbits in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Bemporad A. (2009) Multispacecraft observations of a prominence eruption in ANNALES GEOPHYSICAE

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Del Zanna G (2011) A single picture for solar coronal outflows and radio noise storms in Astronomy & Astrophysics

 
Description Quota Studentships
Amount £520,730 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2008 
End 09/2013
 
Description Royal Society International Joint Project with Japan
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2010 
End 12/2011
 
Description UK APAP Network
Amount £316,993 (GBP)
Funding ID PP/E001254/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2008 
End 02/2011
 
Description Royal Society International Joint Project with Japan 
Organisation National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Country Japan 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Theoretical input on the theory of planet formation and planetary rings
Collaborator Contribution Provision of expertise related to N body codes applied to simulations of planet fromation and planetary rings
Impact The development of N body codes for simulating particles in the Uranus ring system
Start Year 2010
 
Description STFC-funded UK APAP Network Ref: PP/E001254/1 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Physics & Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The group has done atomic physics calculations, have benchmarked them against experimental data, and used them for the analysis of spectra from stellar coronae. They have also distributed the atomic data within CHIANTI and VAMDC (an EU FP7 network).
Collaborator Contribution UCL provides a world-wide leader in atomic physics who has collaborated with the group on calculating atomic data for a large number of ions important for astrophysics.
Impact In the Jan 2006 - Dec 2010 timeframe the APAP team published 101 refereed papers. They are all highest-quality papers, describing atomic data which are used world-wide by almost all atomic databases and modelling codes, and are directly or indirectly cited by hundreds of refereed papers per year.
Start Year 2008
 
Description STFC-funded UK APAP Network Ref: PP/E001254/1 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The group has done atomic physics calculations, have benchmarked them against experimental data, and used them for the analysis of spectra from stellar coronae. They have also distributed the atomic data within CHIANTI and VAMDC (an EU FP7 network).
Collaborator Contribution UCL provides a world-wide leader in atomic physics who has collaborated with the group on calculating atomic data for a large number of ions important for astrophysics.
Impact In the Jan 2006 - Dec 2010 timeframe the APAP team published 101 refereed papers. They are all highest-quality papers, describing atomic data which are used world-wide by almost all atomic databases and modelling codes, and are directly or indirectly cited by hundreds of refereed papers per year.
Start Year 2008
 
Description DAMTP open days 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Many members of the public attended the demonstartions of our research activities
given by staff members and research students.

There was much inrterest and discusion from hundreds of
young people during these open days. Participants report great success at communicating
leading edhe research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010
 
Description Suntrek 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Suntrek is an educational website aimed at 11-16 year olds and their teachers. It describes the astronomy and science of the Sun and its effect on the Earth's environment. The Sun|trek website was launched in July 2007. Since then the number of users has risen to 20,000 per month, which far exceeds our expectations. Sun|trek is now being used by schools throughout the UK, and much further afield. Sun|trek resources have been sent to many schools, including inner city schools (for example in Southall, London and the Ishango Science Club, Birmingham). The Birmingham local news report says: 'The Ishango Science Club after-school Sun-Trek mission held 10 sessions inspired by the Cambridge outreach materials supplied. This organisation specifically targets and inspires bright young ethnic minority children.'

Fliers, posters, pens and other Suntrek material have been distributed throughout the UK and internationally (to S. America, rural India and S. Africa). Classroom projects and ideas are provided on the website. Sun|trek is now linked to many other educational websites, eg STEM directories, RAS, STFC, ASE, IoP, NASA, Cambridge University activities, IYA, IHY, Hinode and SoHO websites, Schoolscience and the BBC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011