Planet formation and stellar multiplicity: insights from recent surveys and perspectives

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Wednesday, May 30 2012 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Gaspard Duchene
UC Berekley

While the prevalence of stellar multiplicity has been known for many decades, it is now becoming increasingly clear that planetary systems are also frequent around Main Sequence stars. This raises the natural question of the connection between stellar multiplicity and planet formation, a topic that was mostly ignored until the last few years. Does the presence of a stellar companion alter, prevent or promote the formation of planets? In which way? Characterizing observational trends as a function of the stellar companion's mass and orbital properties can help identify the most important physical effects induced by the companion, if any. In this talk, I will review some key results from a number of recent surveys based on the Spitzer, Kepler and Herschel space observatories, as well as ground-based facilities. Building on these surveys, I will draw a global picture of our current understanding of the subject and will propose that, while planetary systems exist in a very diverse range of multiple stellar systems, they may not all form through the same process.

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