Debris disks and the search for life in the universe
Friday 15 April 2016
to 16:00 at
Gianni Cataldi (Department of Astronomy)
Since the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995, exoplanetary science has made enormous progress. Today, more than thousand exoplanetary systems are known. However, many questions still remain to be answered. How exactly do planets form? How do planetary systems evolve? Does life exist on any planet other than the Earth?
This thesis presents observational studies of a specific component of exoplanetary systems: debris disks. They can be seen as analogues of the Kuiper belt or the asteroid belt in the solar system. Studying debris disks helps to understand the planet formation process and to characterise exoplanetary environments. The thesis also studies the possibility of detecting signs of extraterrestrial life in the debris created during an impact event on an exoplanet.