Most stars form in groups of dozens to a few hundred, but our understanding of the dynamics of such systems is surprisingly very lacking. In particular, it is unknown how many encounters that could affect planet-forming discs or planetary systems occur, or how binary and multiple star systems are changed. Small-N systems seem like they should be simple, but they are chaotic and stochastic and no two will ever be the same. We’ll perform (very) large numbers of N-body simulations to examine the complex dynamics in detail and form a statistical understanding of the behaviour and evolution to find what effect small-N dynamics might have on planet formation and early evolution.
For more information on this project please contact [Email Address Removed] . Information on the Sheffield Astrophysics Group can be found at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/physics/research/astrophysics .