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Planet Formation in Dense Star Clusters

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Throop (Applicant)

Our Solar System's closest stellar neighbors are several light years away, and most models of the Solar System's formation assume that we have always been isolated from other stars.  But a growing body of evidence suggests that most stars and planets form in star clusters far more dense, where tens of thousands of young stars are initially packed into the same volume of space as between us
and our closest stellar neighbors.  The Orion region is one such nearby dense stellar cluster, where UV radiation, clouds of gas, and encounters with other stars can shape the future of planetary systems.  I will discuss recent observations and modeling of the formation of stars, disks, and planets in dense star clusters such as Orion.  

I will focus in particular on recent modeling (Throop and Bally, 2008) that shows that young circumstellar disks can accrete large amount of gas from the ISM during the 1-10 Myr after formation.  This late accretion of gas can have substantial impact on the formation of planetary systems throughout the galaxy.

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