“When the world was still flat…” – On the stability of protoplanetary disks

Niklas Ehlert, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt, Germany & Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, MPIA, Heidelberg, Germany

The planets of our Solar System formed from a gas and dust disk a few billion years ago. Today, this fact is already taught in primary school, though the actual process is not even close to being thoroughly understood. In this first talk for my Master Thesis I am going to present the background of my research on the stability of protoplanetary disks at the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy at Heidelberg. After introducing some basic properties of a passive disk, I will discuss the principles and mechanisms of its evolution. Moreover, I will briefly describe the disadvantages and shortcomings of the Magnetorotational Instability, which has been widely accepted as the driving motor of turbulence in sufficiently ionized disks. Finally, I present a whole “zoo” of complementing hydrodynamical instabilities which have become objects of increasing interest in recent years and also serve as a starting point for my upcoming research.