Formation and Evolution of Stars, Brown Dwarfs and Planets.

Coordinación de la línea: Benjamín Montesinos Comino

Activities related to the observation, study, and modeling of the various phases and processes associated with the formation and evolution of stars, brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets. Characterization of these objects physical properties.

Scientific and technological objectives.

Search and identification of high and low mass stars, brown dwarfs and isolated planets in star-forming regions and young star clusters. Characterization of these sources through detailed photometric, spectroscopic and astrometric studies at visible, near- and mid-infrared wavelengths.

Formation and evolution of massive stars: synthesis processes and chemical mixing in the interstellar medium. Multiwavelength Galactic and extragalactic metallicity studies.

Study of the stellar and substellar mass function of star-forming regions and young star clusters.

Study and analysis of protoplanetary disks around young stars and brown dwarfs, places where planets rise and evolve. Formation of planetary systems.

Study and analysis of debris disks, which result from the collision among small bodies and planets around stars of intermediate age.

Photometric and spectroscopic characterization (visible and near-infrared wavelengths) of ultracool atmospheres identified in the field of the solar vicinity. Linear polarization due to the presence of condensates in ultracool atmospheres and/or surrounding dusty disks. Comparison to theoretical model atmospheres.

Search for low mass companions around young stars (in star clusters) and/or in the solar neighborhood. Identification of planets around these stars using various direct techniques: imaging, adaptive optics, and proper motion. Analysis of these sources atmospheres. Astrometric characterization of their orbits aimed at determining their dynamic masses idependently of models. Comparison with theoretical evolutionary substellar models.

Search for planets using indirect techniques, particularly radial velocity searches using spectroscopic techniques and observations of bright stars at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. Spectroscopic confirmations of planet candidates around stars detected through photometric transits. Participation in international consortia to develop and build ground-based and space instrumentation aimed at searching and characterizing planets and their atmospheres.

Study of stars with planets aimed at understanding the stellar eventual impact on the planets, including effects on planet atmospheres and the dynamical effects on the planets or planetary systems.

Personnel requirements.

Our group has three "Ramón y Cajal" fellow researchers with an excellent scientific career and well integrated in the team. Their contracts end during 2013-2014. For a proper progression of our group, and aimed at not losing world-wide experts on certain aspects of the group's research activities, we recommend they obtain a permanent position

Additionally, the number of postdoctoral researchers has been dramatically reduced during the last months. Because of contract ends and the lack of proper project budgets, the number of postdocs has decreased by 50%, from seven to three postdoctoral researchers. We urged the CSIC keeps a postdoctoral research program.
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