Department of Physics and Astronomy

Models of proto-planetary disks

Artistic image of protoplanetary disk.
New-born stars are surrounded by rotating disks of gas and dust. These so-called proto- planetary disk are the places where planets form. Their structure and evolution directly influences how the resulting planetary system will look.

Vertical collumn density structure for a disk. The structure is turbulent and we see the embryo of a giant planet forming at roughly the position of Jupiter.

By modelling such disks in three dimensions, using realistic local conditions and energy transport, we can emulate observable quantities for disks with or without planets forming inside them. These results can then be compared and verified with actual observed data.

Cut-out of the gas temperature of from the side (star is on the left). We see the hot "wall" at further edge of the formed by the planet forming gap - it is getting heated and throws a cool shadow all the way to the right.
The young star's light is the main source of energy in the disk at this stage of evolution.This affects the chemistry of the disk, which in turn affects the spectral signature. Here we see water forming in several regions in the disk and also at the edge of the planet gap.


Samuel Regandell