Planet formation and exoplanets

How did we get here? The question of our origin is one of the key drivers of fundamental scientific research. We live on a small planet, the third planet in a family of 8 around a very normal star, one of 300 billion stars in our galaxy alone. Is our solar system special? Or should we expect millions of planetary systems out there with similar properties - maybe - planets that can and do host life? Finding the signs of life on another planet would be a truly transformational discovery. At this point we may not quite be ready to answer this question, but what we can do is find out where in the cosmos the conditions are right for life to exist, and in the process to understand how our solar system, our planet did form and develop.

At API, researchers are studying the formation of planetary systems and the properties of extrasolar planets. We want to understand how the creation of new stars leads to planetary systems, and what these planetary systems look like. We study the properties of protoplanetary disks around young stars through observations and modelling. We study the evolution of these disks, focusing on dust grains that grow in the disk to form planets. We study the growth of planets and the dynamics of planetary systems. And we study the properties of planets emerging from these processes.

Who knows - maybe the signs of life will be detected on one of these planets, during our life time?


Exoplanets & Disks Meeting

The Exoplanets & Disks Meeting is a weekly meeting at the Anton Pannekoek Institute where topics related to exoplanets, planet formation and protoplanetary disks are being discussed. An overview of previous and upcoming talks can be found on our exoplanets-disks-meeting website.

If you are interested in attending the Exoplanets & Disks Meeting and/or giving a talk, then please contact Tomas Stolker.


People at The Institute are working on the following topics:


Exoplanets

Planet formation

Protoplanetary disks