Habitable Zones & Global Climate

The Implications of Clustered Star formation For (proto)planetary Systems and Habitability

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
January 15, 2019
Filed under
The Implications of Clustered Star formation For (proto)planetary Systems and Habitability
Forming star system in Orion

Star formation is spatially clustered across a range of environments, from dense stellar clusters to unbound associations. As a result, radiative or dynamical interactions with neighbouring stars disrupt (proto)planetary systems and limit their radii, leaving a lasting impact on their potential habitability.

In the solar neighbourhood, we find that the vast majority of stars form in unbound associations, such that the interaction of (proto)planetary systems with neighbouring stars is limited to the densest sub-regions. However, the fraction of star formation occurring in compact clusters was considerably higher in the past, peaking at ~50% in the young Milky Way at redshift z~2. These results demonstrate that the large-scale star formation environment affects the demographics of planetary systems and the occupation of the habitable zone. We show that planet formation is governed by multi-scale physics, in which Mpc-scale events such as galaxy mergers affect the AU-scale properties of (proto)planetary systems.

J. M. Diederik Kruijssen (Heidelberg), Steven N. Longmore (LJMU)
(Submitted on 14 Jan 2019)

Comments: 5 pages, 1 figure; to appear in the proceedings of IAU Symposium 345, Origins: from the Protosun to the First Steps of Life, Eds. B. G. Elmegreen, L. V. T\’oth, M. G\”udel, Cambridge University Press
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:1901.04491 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1901.04491v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Diederik Kruijssen
[v1] Mon, 14 Jan 2019 19:00:00 UTC (710 KB)

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