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Title:Substructures of Protoplanetary Disks Revealed with ALMA Radio Observations
Author(s):Dong, Jiayin
Contributor(s):Looney, Leslie
Protoplanetary Disks
Abstract:Protoplanetary disks, the birth places of planets, are rotating disks of dust and gas surrounding still-forming stars. Studying the lifetime, mass, size, structure, and compositions of protoplanetary disks through observations at infrared or millimeter wavelengths is key to examining disk evolution and planetary system formation. Here we present just four of the many protoplanetary disks observed with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope. All young stars in the Rho-Ophiuchi molecular cloud, a well-known stellar nursery, were targeted in the search for disks. The unprecedented, high-resolution ALMA observations have revealed substructures of disks, typically caused by gravitational interactions with forming planets, in stunning detail. The top-left image shows a planet-forming disk around a young star. The rings and gaps indicate the presence of young planets. The top-right and bottom-left images are of two transition disks, which are theorized to be disks where giant planets form. The bottomleft image shows a huge, edge-on disk, the largest protoplanetary disk yet observed in the Rho-Ophiuchi molecular cloud. Our ALMA investigation of these protoplanetary disks is an effective tool in the search for exoplanets and is essential to the understanding of how planets like our own Earth formed. For more information about the Image of Research--Undergraduate Edition go to:
Issue Date:2016-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Jiayin Dong
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-04-25

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