The Organic Inventory of Planet Formation

This seminar is part of the EAI on-line seminars

By Catherine Walsh, University of Leeds, UK

9 February 2021, 16:00 CET

Protoplanetary disks around young stars are the factories of planetary systems. These structures contain all the material – dust, gas, and ice – that will build planets and other bodies such as comets. Hence, understanding the physics and chemistry of disks provides much needed insight into the conditions under which planets form, and determining their molecular content reveals the raw ingredients of planetary atmospheres.

In this seminar, I will show how state-of-the-art observations at (sub)mm wavelengths with ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have revealed the composition of the planet building zone of protoplanetary disks. I will present early results from the first ALMA Large Program dedicated to the observation of molecular line emission from protoplanetary disks around nearby young stars at high angular resolution (0.1″ – 0.3″), titled “Molecules with ALMA on Planet-Forming Scales” or MAPS. I will present images that reveal intriguing sub-structure in emergent line emission from key organic molecules. I will also discuss how observations in the gas-phase of large organic molecules provide insight into the composition of the icy-comet building reservoir around other stars.  Finally I will discuss how early results from MAPS have provided the most detailed studies to date of the chemistry of planet formation.