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Astrophysics Colloquium

The Key for Planet Formation: The Circumplanetary Disk
Presented by Judit Szulágyi
University of Zurich

Thursday, February 13, 2020
11:00 A.M. in 169-336

Nascent massive planets are surrounded by their own disk, the so-called circumplanetary disk. This channels material to the forming planet, serves as a birthplace for moons to grow, and affects the observational signatures of forming planets. The circumplanetary disk composition and chemistry will naturally affect that of the forming planet and of the moons. So understanding its role and characteristics is bringing us closer to understand planet- and moon-formation as a whole.

Our knowledge is still very limited on circumplanetary disks, as they are hard to resolve in computer simulations. We are just entering an era when the observations of these disks are possible, as the first observational evidence for their existence just came in May 2019.

I am carrying out sub-planet resolution thermos-hydrodynamical simulations of planet formation, trying to understand what are the characteristics of the circumplanetary environment, how we can detect them in near-infrared, sub-millimeter and radio wavelengths or with hydrogen recombination lines, such as H-alpha. In my talk I will show mock observations in order to discuss which wavelength range is the best to detect forming planets and what H-alpha fluxes we can expect from the circumplanetary environment. Furthermore, I study how the circumplanetary disk alters the accretion rate and what that means for the timescales of planet-formation.

JPL Contact: Heather Knutson

SVCP Astrophysics

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