The Chemistry and Dynamics of Planet Formation

Wed 9 Oct 2019

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
3700 San Martin Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218


2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Contact Information:

Have questions? Please contact Paule Sonnentrucker.


Today we are on the cusp extending the realm of planet-detection and characterization into the submillimeter band with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). I will discuss new techniques that explore the velocity structure of gas-rich disks to exquisite (2 m/s accuracy) precision. These velocities reveal significant flows from the disk surface towards the midplane of the disk at the radial locations of gaps argued to be opened by embedded planets, bearing striking resemblance to meridional flows, long predicted to occur during the early stages of planet formation. This gas-rich/dust-poor material is potentially flowing onto the surfaces of young protoplanets — thereby isolating key regions to focus studies of the composition of pre-planetary material. Here I will explore what we know about the chemical composition of this gas.  Initial results from ALMA are surprising and hint that the primary volatile carriers of carbon and oxygen are missing from the gas. This suggests an initial formation with sub-stellar composition within the gaseous envelope. These results are not complete, but point towards a bright future towards the combined characterization of the chemistry and dynamics of young forming planets. 

Speaker: Edwin Bergin (University of Michigan)


All 2019 Fall Colloquia talks are held on Wednesdays in the STScI John N. Bahcall Auditorium at 3:00 p.m. preceded by tea at 2:45 p.m.

Please direct questions or comments to the contact above. The 2019-20 committee members are Paule Sonnentrucker (STScI Chair), Annalisa Calamida (STScI), Will Fischer (STScI), Ethan Vishniac (JHU Co-chair), Kevin Schlaufman (JHU), and Graeme Addison (JHU).