Computational Astrophysics

Computing the nascent solar system

We use supercomputers to provide quantitative descriptions of early solar system events and processes – from collapse of the protosolar molecular cloud core to the accretion and differentiation of asteroidal and planetary bodies.

Cosmochemistry provides the means to define or characterize the solar system's nucleosynthetic diversity. However, understanding the origin and evolution of this diversity requires a rigorous understanding of the transport, incorporation and mixing of nucleosynthetic yields in regions where stars like our Sun are born.

How long does it take for matter to form a disk with asteroidal bodies and planetary embryos?

To understand the mechanisms behind these astrophysical phenomena, the computational astrophysics group works with supercomputer simulations and with advanced graphic visualization tools, while also making sure that the models are sufficiently realistic for direct comparisons with observations.

Accurate quantitative descriptions of these mechanisms allow us to identify determinant events in the evolution of our solar system and, through modeling, assess the likelihood that these are also important in extrasolar systems.