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Modelling Dusty Debris Disks

Infrared and sub-millimetre observations of dusty debris disks around young Main Sequence stars often show asymmetries which could be due to the perturbing force of an unseen planet. We are using a modified version of the SWIFT integration package with includes Poynting-Robertson and solar wind drag to model debris disks. This enables us to follow the evolution of a swarm of dust particles in the presence of an unseen extrasolar planet.

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Simulation of a planet and debris ring around the star Fomalhaut. The planet, in an eccentric orbit causes the center of the ring to be offset from the star.
Credit: (c) NASA, ESA, A. Deller & S. Maddison (Swinburne), and G. Bacon (STScI)