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Astronomy Colloquium
Planet Formation in the Era of ALMA
Date: Thursday, March 15th
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and cookies 3:30 PM, Talk begins at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Ke Zhang, University of Michigan
Abstract: Planetary systems are common in the universe, and our solar system is just one outcome of a vast number of possibilities. This great diversity is largely rooted and developed in their birth environments--- gas-rich protoplanetary disks around several Myr-old young stars. Therefore, studying the structures and evolutions of solids and gaseous components in these disks are necessary for our understanding of the diversity and ultimately the chance of habitability of planetary systems. I will discuss recent results from The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in characterizing protoplanetary disks, and new insight/puzzles that these results add to our understanding of planet formatting processes. In particular, I will focus on three areas: (1) the commonality of substructures in disks and their links to planet(esimal) formation, (2) new approaches to probe the planet-forming mid-plane region and locations of critical chemical transitions such as snowlines, (3) direct determination of carbon and oxygen elemental abundances in disk atmospheres and their implication for the initial atmospheric composition of extra-solar gas giants.

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