I am a first-year PhD student in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at the University of Warwick, supervised by Dr Grant Kennedy.
My research centres on using data from the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) to image and model debris disks around M-dwarf stars.
Disk detection rates are presently low around M-dwarfs: the Herschel DEBRIS survey detected just 2 debris disks from 89 M-dwarfs. However, detection rates are inherently tied to the sensitivity of the instrument used and the observation wavelength. The question remains whether or not true incidence rates for M-dwarf disks are similar to earlier type stars and it is the low luminosity of the host stars that limits the temperature and luminosity of the disks, thus requiring highly sensitive observations made at far-infrared/sub-millimetre wavelengths to detect. The alternative is that disks are indeed less common around these late type stars, perhaps due to effects that more significantly affect disks around low mass hosts such as stripping from stellar encounters or photoevaporation of the primordial disk. It is also possible that efficient planet formation around low mass stars could use up all the disk material, this ties in to exoplanet observations finding many terrestrial planets in low mass systems, a la Trappist-1. Also, M-dwarf ages span up to 10 billion years, and debris disks are typically found to be brightest when youngest, as their planetesimal belts have been depleted little by collisional evolution, so perhaps simply many M star disks have decayed past our observational sensitivities. Hence the need for the unique capabilities of ALMA. Just a handful of M-dwarf debris disks have been observed by ALMA but they will play an important role in our understanding of M-dwarf disks and the M dwarf planet formation process.
I also have experience combing through Herschel galaxy surveys to find foreground stars with infrared excesses. In general, my astrophysics interests lie in circumstellar disks, planet formation and exoplanets. Outside of that, I do enjoy learning about ancient history, zoology and in particular paleontology, my hand-knitted dinosaurs attest to that!
I am a big fan of outreach and am always willing to take part in any sort of activities or to simply answer questions about space/my experiences!
Brookesia minima, formally the world's smallest lizard before they found a slightly smaller one.
Write to:Patrick Cronin-Coltsmann,