How planets form is one of the key questions of modern astrophysics. With thousands of confirmed exoplanets, we now know that nature is able to produce a huge variety of planetary systems which underlines the complexity of the formation mechanisms. As planets form in circumstellar disks around young stars, the formation process is inherently linked to the evolution of these disks. Most likely, very different physical processes occurring at different stages of protoplanetary disk evolution contribute to the diversity of observed planetary systems. Understanding planet formation is thus a multi-faceted challenge strewn with unanswered questions. This challenge requires a multi-disciplinary approach to best cover the physics that take place at each evolutionary stage of planet formation.
To front this challenge was created the Millenium Nucleus for Planet Formation, center dedicated to study each fundamental step on the evolution of susceptible systems to planetary formation.
Other of the main scientific goals of this center is design and produce indispensable mirrors to build the “Planet Formation Imager” (PFI), project which principal objective is resolve spatially the Hill sphere of a planet under formation in the near and medium infrared. In this way, the Millenium Nucleus for Planet Formation seeks position Chile in the development of the new generation of astronomical instrumentation.
Lines of research:
°To study planetary formation since the beginning, through theory and observations.
°To participate in the design and construction of quality mirrors for astronomical observations in the mid-infrared.