Institut für Astronomie & Astrophysik


Theory of Accretion Discs

Willy Kley †, Anna Penzlin, Thomas Rometsch, Lucas Jordan, Hugo Audiffren, Will Béthune, Christoph Schäfer

Hubble view of the Orion nebula showing five young
stars of which four are surrounded by protoplanetary discs (Courtesy: NASA)

Our research focusses on the physical structure and dynamics of accretion discs. Examples include circumstellar discs around T-Tauri stars, consisting mainly of gas and also a small amount of interstellar dust. In accretion discs the gas rotates with nearly Keplerian velocity around the host star, spirals slowly inwards and is accreted onto the central star. In our group we study various aspects of accretion disc physics.

Planet Formation

Willy Kley †, Anna Penzlin, Thomas Rometsch, Lucas Jordan, Hugo Audiffren, Christoph Burger, Rafael Sfair, Christoph Schäfer

Simulated image of a self-gravitating disc undergoing fragmentation

Planet formation has been an area which has been studied in great detail with respect to the Solar System. The discovery of hundreds of extra-solar planets since the mid-1990s has put the field into a much larger context. A revision of the major aspects of classical planet formation theory is required. In our group we study various aspects of planet formation within the sequential accretion and gravitational instability scenario.