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Astronomy Colloquium

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
From Circumstellar Disks to Extrasolar Planets: Observational Insights
Andrea Isella, Caltech,

  The transformational imaging capabilities offered by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and the
  Karl Jansky  Very Large Array (VLA), as well as high-contrast near-infrared cameras, are opening an
  unprecedented window on the planet formation region in nearby young stellar objects. This enables us to
  investigate how gas-rich disks around young stars evolve and form planetary systems. This is a key step to
  understand the origins of our Solar System and the puzzling diversity in the demographics of known
  exoplanetary systems.  I will summarize the current understanding of the planet formation process and present
  the most recent results from observations that spatially resolve the planet formation region in nearby disks.
  I will discuss the constraints on the initial conditions for planet formation, such as the radial distribution of the
  circumstellar material and the properties of the circumstellar dust, which inform about the location and time
  scale for the formation of  planets.  I will then present ALMA, VLA, and CARMA observations that reveal spiral
  structures and asymmetries in the disk structure possibly caused by the interaction with planetary systems in
  the act of forming.  I will conclude by presenting future plans that combine the ALMA capabilities with those of
  present and future high-contrast near-infrared cameras to study the formation and evolution of
  planetary systems  on spatial scales of a few AUs.

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