Linear stability analysis of proto-planetary accretion disks

Related to the general field of the theory of planet formation, the thesis addresses the stability of accretion disks with respect to a baroclinic instability.

Instabilities in protoplanetary accretion discs can lead to formation of planets. To understand whether the conditions favor this, one often needs to apply a mixture of analytics and numerics.

This instability can work in rotating systems with radial entropy gradients. For example in the case of the earth atmosphere the baroclinic instability is responsible for the initial formation of hurricanes. It is currently under discussion whether such huge and powerful vortices can also form in protoplanetary accretion disks, which would have a strong influence onto the planet formation process.

Precise Task

Based on an existing two dimensional linear stability analysis for accretion disks with uniform density a more general analysis shall be performed, extending the existing equations into three dimensions and allowing for arbitrary density profiles.


Theoretical astrophysics, theory of planet formation, hydrodynamics, accretion disks, linear stability analysis, etc.


Strong analytic and some programming skills are beneficial as well as basic knowledge of hydrodynamics.

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