Debris disks

Observing planet formation at close range: Gemini Planet Imager's view of the TW Hya disk
Published 12/22/2015 in Gemini Planet Imager Author jhkpci
Investigations of star and planet formation have long focused on the rich stellar nurseries of Taurus, Ophiuchus, Chamaeleon, and a handful of similarly nearby (but lower mass) molecular clouds. These regions, which lie just beyond 100 pc, are collectively host to hundreds of low-mass, pre-main sequence (T Tauri) stars with ages of a few million years and less. They hence provide large samples of stars with orbiting circumstellar disks that span a wide range of evolutionary stages. Examples of protoplanetary disks that lie closer than ~100 pc to Earth are far fewer and farther between. However -- because their proximity affords... read more ❯

Debris Disks: Searching for Dust to Find Planets
Published 3/4/2015 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Rahul Patel
No one is ever excited when the topic of "dust" is brought up. Usually dust is a hindrance – something you sweep away during spring-cleaning, or an annoyance because your allergies can’t handle it. But for astronomers, finding dust around another star – i.e., circumstellar dust – is like finding the next piece of an interstellar puzzle. That’s because circumstellar dust holds clues to understanding not only... read more ❯