Origins of Structure in Planetary Systems
Ruth Murray-Clay (UCSB)
January 28, 2016
Abstract: Giant planets form the dynamical backbones of planetary systems, shaping the orbits of their lower-mass neighbors while encoding their systems’ formation histories. Recent discoveries of super-Earths on short period orbits and giant planets at wide separations have turned several classic questions of planet formation on their heads. Instead of merely asking how giants planets form, we must now explain why they are not more ubiquitous. In this talk, I will review several recent advances in the theory of giant planet formation. I will then discuss how we can use observations of giant planets to distinguish between these formation methods, to probe the disks from which planets form, and to organize planetary systems, placing the solar system in context.