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To see a world in a grain of sand: observations of debris disks as tests of planet formation theory

Meyer, M (ETH Zürich)
Friday 21 August 2009, 09:00-09:40

Meeting Room 2, CMS


We will review recent observations of debris disks with a focus on what they can reveal about the formation and evolution of planetary systems. In this presentation, we define a debris disk as one where the opacity we see is dominated by dust produced in collisions of planetesimals. We will concentrate on observed properties of disks as a function of wavelength (as a proxy for orbital radius) and compare results as a function of stellar mass when possible. We will start by summarizing the observational evidence for the appearance of dust debris and final gas disk dispersal. We then consider the observational signatures of terrestrial planet formation and giant impacts. We will briefly comment on specific physical properties inferred for debris disks based on application of simple models. Finally, we will review the observational connection (or lack thereof) between known exoplanets and debris disks. If most planetary systems are dynamically full, then it may be those systems lacking signatures of debris that represent the richest planetary architectures. Related Links • - Star and Planet Formation Research Group, Institute for Astronomy, ETH • - Spitzer Legacy Science Program FEPS


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