Thomas Henning How Do Planetary Systems Develop out of a Disk of Young Stars?
© Maximilian Dörrbecker
Max Planck Society
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Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
How do stars and planets form? What can we learn about planets orbiting stars other than the Sun? How do galaxies form, and how have they changed in the course of cosmic history?
Those are the central questions guiding the work of the scientists and engineers at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg. The institute was founded in 1967, and it is one of roughly 80 institutes of the Max Planck Society, Germany's largest organizations for basic research.
MPIA has a staff of around 290, three quarters of which are working in sci-tech. At any given time, the institute features numerous junior scientists and guest scientists both from Germany and abroad. (Source)
Over the last two decades the discovery of planets outside our solar systems has enabled researchers to study how planetary systems form - the major question within the field of astronomy today. These planetary systems and the respective planets vary significantly from each other. In order to understand how these differences come about, the research presented in this video goes back to the birth sites of planets and investigates how they form out of the gas and dust in the disk of young stars. THOMAS HENNING explains that, due to the small nature of the objects and the low mass of the disks, the researchers employed two complementary telescope technologies to reach the necessary spatial resolution and sensitivity. Combining this with numerical simulations and laboratory experiments, the research team was able to observe the growth process of planets and characterize the chemical composition of the disks. The results indicate that the variety in the molecular content of the disks triggers diverse planet properties.
LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10363
The VLA View of the HL Tau Disk: Disk Mass, Grain Evolution, and Early Planet Formation
- Carlos Carrasco-González, Thomas Henning, Claire J. Chandler, Hendrik Linz, Laura Pérez, Luis F. Rodríguez, Roberto Galván-Madrid, Guillem Anglada, Til Birnstiel and Roy van Boekel
- The Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Published in 2016