Recent discoveries of exoplanet types and orbital features not seen in the Solar System have forced the astronomical community to come up with new models to describe how planetary systems form and evolve over time. Each new model predicts a different range of outcomes for planetary and orbital features thereby allowing us to test the robustness of each by comparing observed and predicted distributions. One system feature that has been suggested as a sound indicator of formation/migration history is the stellar obliquity of the system. A survey of the available obliquity data however suggests that there are a number of system types for which data is particularly scarce. The aim of this PhD project is to populate the under-represented system types with newly acquired obliquity data to help create a more complete test bed from which to assess formation/migration theories. My target systems will include those containing exoplanets in long period orbits (P>5 days); brown dwarf systems; binary star systems as well as young systems and those containing smaller planets (Rp < 10Re). The newly acquired data will then be used in conjunction will previously published data to test the validity of a number of planet formation and evolution models.
For more information or zoom link, please email the Graduate Research School or phone (07) 4631 1088. The zoom links are included in the ReDTrain Bulletin.