MIT Astrophysics Colloquium 9/27/2022: Observational Insights Into The Natal Environments Of Planets (Speaker: Jane Huang, University Of Michigan)

The discoveries of thousands of exoplanets have presented a number of puzzles about their properties and origins. Until recently, though, many of the assumptions made by planet formation models could not be examined directly. We have now entered an era where deep, high resolution images of protoplanetary disks at millimeter and infrared wavelengths are yielding a wealth of new insights into the early conditions of planet formation. The widespread presence of gaps and rings in disks indicates that giant planet formation occurs readily on Myr-timescales, sometimes at surprisingly large separations from the host star. Detections of complex large-scale structures connected to disks increasingly suggest that environmental interactions play an important role not only in the early stages of star formation, but also at more evolved stages of planet formation. Molecular observations are revealing strong chemical heterogeneity within and between disks, laying the observational groundwork necessary to investigate the link between the compositions of planets and their formation sites. These observations demonstrate that the natal environments of planets are far more dynamic and varied than previously thought.

Host: Andrew Vanderburg


Event Contact

Debbie Meinbresse