Master Thesis Project

Working title:

"Planet Dynamics and Chaos: Numerical Study of Test-particle Stability within the Habitable Zone of Extrasolar Planets"

(Work accepted for publication in A&A)


Currently I'm working on my master's thesis within the field of numerical celestial mechanics and planet dynamics.
Since 1995 over 100 extrasolar planetary systems have been observed using either the radial-velocity, photometric
or micro-lensing method. The observed extrasolar planetary systems contain one or more planets orbiting Solar-like
stars. The exact details of the planet formation process are still not fully understood, but that planets do form
is a well-established fact.

One of the most interesting questions is the possibility of the existence of Earth-like planets within observed
extrasolar planetary systems. Within my thesis, I focus on whether extrasolar terrestial planetary orbits dyna-
mically remain confined long enough within the habitable zone of selected one-planet extrasolar systems. Using
numerical chaos indicators and performing dynamical large-scale test-particle simulations, the parameter phase space is
explored within the region of the habitable zone over a substantial time length of the host stars life time. This kind of
theoretical dynamical analysis will help future space-based search missions for habitable planets by providing a mission
targeting list of potential terrestial planets on dynamically stable orbits.

First results:

  • HD4208
  • HD216437
  • HD30177
  • HD111232
  • HD114729