The fate of planetary systems beyond the main sequence
January 17, 2011
Abstract: Discs of dust and rocks, analogous to the Solar System’s asteroid or Kuiper belt are observed around hundreds of main sequence stars. There are over 500 detections of exoplanets to date around main sequence stars. Very little, however, is known about the fate of planetary systems when the star evolves off the main sequence. Do they survive the star’s evolution? Should we be able to detect planetary systems around evolved stars and can we link observations of white dwarfs with planetary systems. I discuss the evolution of main sequence planetary systems, from the main sequence through to the white dwarf phase, with particular reference to explaining white dwarf observations. I present semi-analytic models for the post-main sequence evolution of debris discs, N-body simulations that investigate the dynamical evolution of planetary systems and investigate the potential to detect planetary material accreting onto white dwarfs.