Observing Planet Formation

Sean Andrews

Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University

In just the past quarter century, astronomers have discovered more than 5000 planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. Statistical extrapolations from this population suggest that, on average, every star hosts a planetary system. These 'exoplanets' are remarkably diverse, often exhibiting properties - masses, orbital architectures, atmospheric compositions, etc. - considerably unlike those in our solar system. Much of that diversity is imprinted during the formation epoch, where planet properties are strongly influenced by interactions with their birth environments - the flattened disks of gas and dust that orbit young stars. Until recently, much of our understanding of planet formation was limited to forensic study of a specific (and possibly outlier) example - the solar system - and was largely theoretical. But in the past few years, very high angular resolution observations of disks in nearby star-forming regions have unveiled key signatures of the planet formation epoch and helped solve some long-standing theoretical dilemmas. This talk will focus on what we are learning about the small-scale spatial distribution and kinematics of disk material, largely based on state-of-the-art measurements with interferometers operating at (sub)millimeter wavelengths, the corresponding implications for the assembly and early evolution of planetary systems, and some expectations for progress in the coming decade.

Date: Jeudi, le 7 avril 2022
Heure: 11:30
Lieu: Université de Montréal