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Astronomy Colloquium
"Tracing the chemical origins of exoplanetary worlds"
Date: Thursday, February 14th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and cookies 3:30 PM, Talk begins 3:45 PM
Speaker: Ke (Coco) Zhang, University of Michigan
Abstract: We have learned that exoplanets are not only common in the Galaxy but also incredibly diverse, ranging from large to small, from rocky to hydrogen gas-rich. These discoveries raise many questions about planet formation, evolution, and habitability. To address these questions, a wealth of information can be learned from making connections between the chemical compositions of raw materials in natal planet-forming disks to compositions of exoplanet atmospheres. For this talk, I will focus on making connections through two abundant elements -- carbon and oxygen-- from young disks to exoplanets. I will discuss current observations and theoretical studies on how these elemental abundances vary with location and time at planet-forming scales. I will also discuss recent discoveries of AU-scale substructures in ALMA observations of disks and place these results in the context of our growing understanding of the chemistry and physics associated with planet formation. I will conclude with a discussion of the fantastic future using ALMA and, eventually JWST, that will zoom in to characterize the chemical/physical properties of the planet-forming zone and characterize the habitable zone in disks surround M dwarfs.
Host: Professor Snezana Stanimirovic
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