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The astrophysics of crowded places

Davies, Melvyn B LU (2002) In Roy. Soc. of London Phil. Tr. A, Triennial Issue: Astronomy and Earth Science 360(1801). p.2773-2786
Abstract
Today the Sun is in a relatively uncrowded place. The distance between it and the nearest other star is relatively large (about 200 000 times the Earth-Sun distance!). This is beneficial to life on Earth; a close encounter with another star is extremely unlikely. Such encounters would either remove the Earth from its orbit around the Sun or leave it on an eccentric orbit similar to a comet's. But the Sun was not formed in isolation. It was born within a more-crowded cluster of perhaps a few hundred stars. As the surrounding gas evaporated away, the cluster itself evaporated too, dispersing its stars into the Galaxy. Virtually all stars in the Galaxy share this history, and here I will describe the role of 'clusterness' in a star's life.... (More)
Today the Sun is in a relatively uncrowded place. The distance between it and the nearest other star is relatively large (about 200 000 times the Earth-Sun distance!). This is beneficial to life on Earth; a close encounter with another star is extremely unlikely. Such encounters would either remove the Earth from its orbit around the Sun or leave it on an eccentric orbit similar to a comet's. But the Sun was not formed in isolation. It was born within a more-crowded cluster of perhaps a few hundred stars. As the surrounding gas evaporated away, the cluster itself evaporated too, dispersing its stars into the Galaxy. Virtually all stars in the Galaxy share this history, and here I will describe the role of 'clusterness' in a star's life. Stars are often formed in larger stellar clusters (known as open and globular clusters), some of which are still around today. I will focus on stars in globular clusters and describe how the interactions between stars in these clusters may explain the zoo of stellar exotica which have recently been observed with instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the X-ray telescopes XMM-Newton and Chandra. In recent years, myriad planets orbiting stars other than the Sun-the so-called 'extrasolar' planets-have been discovered. I will describe how a crowded environment will affect such planetary systems and may in fact explain some of their mysterious properties. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Roy. Soc. of London Phil. Tr. A, Triennial Issue: Astronomy and Earth Science
volume
360
issue
1801
pages
2773 - 2786
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • Scopus:0242492518
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
3f375ee6-14d7-4af6-bc00-34cb4f066053 (old id 768510)
date added to LUP
2007-12-18 12:45:36
date last changed
2016-10-13 04:40:08
@misc{3f375ee6-14d7-4af6-bc00-34cb4f066053,
  abstract     = {Today the Sun is in a relatively uncrowded place. The distance between it and the nearest other star is relatively large (about 200 000 times the Earth-Sun distance!). This is beneficial to life on Earth; a close encounter with another star is extremely unlikely. Such encounters would either remove the Earth from its orbit around the Sun or leave it on an eccentric orbit similar to a comet's. But the Sun was not formed in isolation. It was born within a more-crowded cluster of perhaps a few hundred stars. As the surrounding gas evaporated away, the cluster itself evaporated too, dispersing its stars into the Galaxy. Virtually all stars in the Galaxy share this history, and here I will describe the role of 'clusterness' in a star's life. Stars are often formed in larger stellar clusters (known as open and globular clusters), some of which are still around today. I will focus on stars in globular clusters and describe how the interactions between stars in these clusters may explain the zoo of stellar exotica which have recently been observed with instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the X-ray telescopes XMM-Newton and Chandra. In recent years, myriad planets orbiting stars other than the Sun-the so-called 'extrasolar' planets-have been discovered. I will describe how a crowded environment will affect such planetary systems and may in fact explain some of their mysterious properties.},
  author       = {Davies, Melvyn B},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1801},
  pages        = {2773--2786},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x9b47480)},
  series       = {Roy. Soc. of London Phil. Tr. A, Triennial Issue: Astronomy and Earth Science},
  title        = {The astrophysics of crowded places},
  volume       = {360},
  year         = {2002},
}