Image of Research

Spirals of Moons Around Rogue Planets


My research involves simulating exoplanet solar systems using computers. Sometimes, two planets in a system will get too close to each other, and one of them will get thrown out and start wandering across the galaxy. My research focuses on the moons of these planets, and whether a planet that gets thrown out can keep a moon in orbit. It turns out that moons can not only stay in orbit, they also create interesting patterns. They can even keep special "resonance" orbits that can maintain liquid water, like on Jupiter's moon Europa. This image is a collage of all the moon systems created after a planet starting with 100 moons has left the solar system.