Theoretical Astrophysics

Theoretical astrophysics research at the CRA is focused on:

Planetary Dynamics: So far, thousands of planets beyond the Solar System (exoplanets) have been detected, and a large number of them show drastically different properties from those in our own Solar System. This challenges our classical understanding of planetary formation and habitability. At the CRA, we study the dynamical interactions of planetary systems, which can explain many of the observed puzzles and to explain the formation mechanisms of the planets. Meanwhile, the dynamical evolution of the planets provide important constraints on planetary habitability.

Cosmology and Galaxy Evolution: The field of cosmology studies the universe in its entirety.  The evolution of galaxies and their central black holes are particularly useful to understand both the relevant cosmological and galactic processes that shape galaxies over billions of years.  The length scales involved in these processes can range from an atomic level, when studying atomic and molecular transitions that are important in star forming gas clouds, to the cosmological scale, where tidal forces from distant galaxies create the initial rotation of a galaxy.

Black holes and neutron stars: Black holes and neutron stars are the most compact objects in the universe, where matter is packed to very high densities under the relentless force of gravity. They are ideal tools to study gravity at its most extreme as well as a variety of physical processes that often accompany them, such as accretion of gas and energetic interactions with their environment.