Signatures of planets and of planet formation in debris disks
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
More than 700 nearby stars are known to have orbiting extrasolar planets, and a similar number are known to have orbiting debris, i.e., dust, asteroids and comets. Just as in the Solar System, observations of extrasolar debris disks provide unique information on the structure, formation and evolution of the planetary systems in which they reside. They have even been used to predict the presence of unseen planets that have later been confirmed through direct imaging. As the numbers of systems found to have both extrasolar planets and debris disks grows, the connection between these two phenomena is becoming clearer. In this talk I will describe the ways in which planets, and the process by which they form, leave their signatures in observations of debris disks. I will also discuss what we have learnt about what's around nearby stars from studies of their debris disks, including results from DEBRIS, a key programme currently underway using the Herschel Space Observatory to search for cold dust emission toward the nearest ~450 stars.
4 July 2012, 11:00
Centro de Astrofísica
Rua das Estrelas