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October 17, 202211:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)

The Role of Ecology in Star and Planet Formation


Megan Reiter (Rice University)


Grace Olivier



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Most stars and planets form in clusters/associations with hundreds of low-mass stars and their associated planetary systems forming alongside each high-mass star. Radiation, energy, and momentum from the highest mass stars permeate these regions and play a central role in shaping the demographics and habitability of exoplanets. Ionizing radiation from high-mass stars truncates and destroys protoplanetary disks around nearby low-mass stars, reducing the timescale for planet formation. At the same time, short-lived radioactive elements synthesized in the death of these same high-mass stars may regulate the water budget of Earth-like (terrestrial) planets. As the exoplanet community steps ever closer to detecting Earth-analogs, there is an urgent need to study the more distant and higher mass environments where the majority of stars/planets form and test how it impacts the demographics of exoplanets. I will discuss new results from JWST and the on-going surveys I am leading to constrain the role of environment in shaping the outcome of star and planet formation.

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