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Astronomy Colloquium
Sizing up Protoplanetary Disks
Date: Thursday, September 23rd
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Place: Coffee and Tea 3:30 pm, Talk begins 3:45 pm
Speaker: Leon Trapman, UW Madison
Abstract: Although we are certain that planets can be formed, there are still large gaps in our understanding of how they formed. Observations show that exoplanets are found in a large variety of planetary systems, from multiple terrestrial planets packed inside the central ~1 AU to several gas giants spread over tens of AU from the central star. The diverse outcomes of planet formation are intimately linked to the disks of gas and dust around young stars, called protoplanetary disks, in which these planets have formed and grown. How much material do these disks contain for planet formation? Is this material concentrated close to the star or spread over a large area? And how do the gas and dust that make up the disk evolve over time? In my talk I will show how studying bulk properties of protoplanetary disks, especially their size, can answer these questions and help us solve the riddle of planet formation.
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