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Tidal flows in extrasolar planets and stars

PGR-P-205

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Supervisors
Dr Adrian Barker
Schools
School of Mathematics
Research groups/institutes
Applied Mathematics
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Since 1995 astronomers have discovered and partially characterised several thousand extrasolar planets. Many of these planets have masses similar to Jupiter&rsquo;s, and orbit their host stars in only a few Earth days -- a fascinating class of planets that we refer to as hot Jupiters. Since these planets orbit their stars very closely, gravitational tidal interactions between the planet and star can determine the orbits of these planets, and the spins (axial rotations) of the planet and its host star. This means that the Earth is gradually spinning down (by a few milliseconds per century) as the Moon is receding from the Earth (at a rate of a few centimetres per year). Evidence for the influence of gravitational tides in extrasolar planetary systems is most clearly seen in the orbits of the closest planets. Tides can change the shape of the orbit: how circular or elliptical (eccentric) it is. Indeed, the closest planets, that orbit their stars in less than 10 Earth days, preferentially have circular orbits, while those that orbit their stars more distantly tend to have eccentric orbits. This is thought to primarily result from the dissipation of tidal flows inside these planets. These (and related) observations motivate theoretical work to understand tidal flows inside planets and stars, to determine and elucidate the mechanisms by which they may dissipate.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>This requires understanding the fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics of tidal flows inside planets and stars, including the effects of rotation, stratification, convection and magnetic fields.&nbsp;This project will investigate some of these effects using a combination of computer simulations and theoretical (analytical) calculations, with the aim to understand tidal flows in stars and in the fluid layers of planets. The ultimate goal of this research is to explain astrophysical observations and make predictions to be tested by future observations. The group in Leeds is one of the leading groups in the field of <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/maths-astrophysical-geophysical-fluid-dynamics">Astrophysical and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics</a> and is actively engaged in research&nbsp;on a wide range of topics including planetary and extrasolar planetary dynamics (the geodynamo, planetary dynamos, tidal interactions between planets and stars, planet formation), solar and stellar dynamics (solar and stellar dynamos, hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic instabilities, turbulence), as well as galactic and extragalactic dynamics on the largest scales. Although this project does not have dedicated funding, all successful&nbsp;applicants without funding&nbsp;will be considered for both STFC funding, and for a&nbsp;fully-funded scholarship in an open competition across the entire&nbsp;School of Maths.</p> <p>The earliest start date for this project is 1 October 2020.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Tidal flows in extrasolar planets and stars&rsquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/6/dr-adrian-j-barker">Dr Adrian Barker</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>Self-Funding Students</strong></p> <p><strong>Funding Eligibility</strong></p> <p><strong>UK/EU</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;Leeds Doctoral Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years, School of Mathematics Scholarship award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p> <p><strong>International Students</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;China Scholarship Council-University of Leeds Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees for 3 years,&nbsp;School of Mathematics Scholarship award paying Academic Fees for 3 years, Commonwealth Scholarship and Commonwealth Split Site Scholarships.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">m</a><a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">aps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk</a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Adrian Barker by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="mailto:A.J.Barker@leeds.ac.uk">A.J.Barker@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>