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Astronomy Colloquium

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
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.

For more information, please contact Althea E. Keith by phone at 626-395-4973 or by email at