The Origins of Stellar Spin - Planetary Orbit Misalignments
The accelerating quantification of exo-planetary orbital obliquity (i.e. the misalignment between the stellar spin axis and the planetary orbit normal) has been interpreted as being among the most information-rich relics left over from the epoch of planet formation. Unexpectedly, the recurrent identification of large spin-orbit misalignments have called into question our understanding of planet-disk interactions and planet-formation in general. To this end, our research activities have been aimed at understanding the evolution of proto-planetary disks and stellar spin-axes (subject to gravitational torques from the stellar birth environment, magnetic disk-star coupling, accretion, etc) in an effort to reconcile significant orbital obliquities and conventional mechanisms responsible for large-scale orbital migration of young planets.