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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics

Tidal flows in the convective regions of rotating stars

Supervisors

Dr Adrian Barker (School of Mathematics) - lead academic supervisor, Prof Chris Jones (School of Mathematics) and Dr Sven Van Loo (School of Physics & Astronomy)

Theme(s)

Geophysical FlowsMicroflows and Heat TransferAstrophysical Flows

Summary

The discovery and partial characterisation of several thousand planets orbiting stars other than the Sun is probably the most exciting development in modern astrophysics. Observations indicate that tidal gravitational interactions between these planets and their host stars have played a crucial role in modifying spins and orbits in the closest systems. For example, dissipation of tidal flows excited inside the star by a close-orbiting planet could be responsible for destroying some of these planets around certain types of star. It has long been thought that convective turbulence in the outer parts of Sun-like stars could act as an eddy viscosity that damps large-scale tidal flows. But there is a long-standing theoretical controversy over the efficiency of this process when the planet orbits very rapidly. Previous work has analysed the interaction between non-rotating convective turbulence and an imposed large-scale tidal shear. However, some stars and planets rotate sufficiently rapidly that the Coriolis force can significantly modify the properties of the convection. This project will study the interaction between a large-scale tidal flow and rotating convective turbulence, primarily using hydrodynamical simulations in local and global computational models.