Dynamics in the Sun, Stars and Exoplanets

I study dynamical processes in stellar interiors and exoplanetary atmospheres. I work with a distributed team developing new computational tools for solving astrophysically interesting partial differential equations. With these tools, we are taking novel approaches to studying fundamental problems in our own Sun, in other stars, and in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets.

A flexible approach to astrophysics

In theoretical astrophysics, the problems we dream are often constrained by the tools we have available. We are developing an open-source, flexible software framework for solving astrophysically interesting partial differential equations. Dedalus uses modern programing techniques and cutting-edge algorithms to allow novel approaches to science. We develop in the open, have a growing and vibrant community, and welcome contributions from all branches of science.

Recent Work

Stratified convection

The properties of stratified convection, especially at very low Mach numbers, is a significant problem in astrophysical fluid dynamics. Using Dedalus, we have for the first time simulated extremely low Mach number convection using fully compressible dynamics. This is a significant advance on anelastic and other subsonic approximations. Shown is 2-D, high-Rayleigh number convection in a polytropic atmosphere with 3.5 density scaleheights.

Cyclic dynamos

Stars like the Sun have magnetism at their surface. These magnetic fields are generated by plasma motions in the turbulent convection beneath the stellar photosphere. This process of building and rebuilding magnetic fields is called the stellar dynamo. Using global-scale models with the ASH code, we have achieved organized, global-scale, cyclically reversing dynamos that live in the convection zone itself, rather than in special boundary layers (tachoclines) deep within the star. One such system is shown here. Read more (Brown et al. 2011)

Get In Touch

Interested in collaborating on research, or in studying astrophysics in Boulder? Drop me a line.

  • Address

    Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
    391 UCB
    Boulder, CO 80309
    United States
  • Email