Wednesday, October 23, 2013
From Planetesimals to Giant Planets: Chemical and Dynamical Probes of Planet Formation
Joan Najita, NOAO
Work with the Spitzer Space Telescope revealed that emission from water and organic molecules is commonly present in the mid-infrared spectra of disks surrounding young stars. I will describe how these features might be used to help lift the veil on a very early stage of planet formation, the formation of planetesimals, those theoretically fundamental but observationally elusive building blocks of planets in core accretion theory. I will also describe some results from high resolution spectroscopy that suggest that forming high-mass giant planets may reveal themselves through non-axisymmetric signatures of their presence, e.g., circumplanetary disks and eccentric inner rims.