Debris Disks and the Epoch of Terrestrial Planet Formation
Space Telescope Science Institute
The terrestrial planets in our Solar System are believed to have formed via a multi-stage process that included the conglomeration of sub-micron sized interstellar dust particles into kilometer-sized parent bodies, the growth of pluto-size planetary embryos from collisions of kilometer-sized parent bodies, and the accretion of the patina from giant collisions between planetary embryos. The Spitzer Space Telescope has enabled photometric surveys of mid- and far-infrared excess around stars in nearby young associations that constrain models for the formation of pluto-sized objects, and spectroscopic characterization of the circumstellar material that suggests that giant collisions may be occurring in some systems. In this talk, I will outline the properties of young debris disks in which terrestrial planets may be forming, compare MIPS photometric observations of stars in the 5-20 Myr old Scorpius-Centaurus OB Association to the evolution predicted by self-stirred disk models, and discuss possible diagnostics for giant collisions in young Solar Systems.
Date: Thursday, 27 October 2011 Time: 11:30 Where: Université de Montréal Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, local D-460 Contact: David Lafrenière