Barbara Ercolano Is the Protoplanetary Disk of TW Hydrae on the Verge of Dispersal?

Barbara Ercolano is Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Previous affiliations include the University of Exeter, the University of Cambridge, Harvard University and University College London. Her research interests currently focus on star and planet formation, interstellar medium evolution and enrichment, as well as computational methods and radiative transfer. In 2010, she was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Fowler Price for Early Career Achievements.

Area of Research

Theoretical Astrophysics

Barbara Ercolano, Michael J. Barlow, Peter J. Storey and Xuewei Liu. "Mocassin: A Fully Three-dimensional Monte Carlo Photoionization Code." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 340 (2003): 1136-1152.  
Barbara Ercolano, Michael J. Barlow and Peter J. Storey. "The Dusty MOCASSIN: Fully Self-consistent 3D Photoionization and Dust Radiative Transfer Models." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 362 (2005): 1038-1046.  
Ben E. K. Sugerman, Barbara Ercolano, Michael J. Barlow, Alexander G. G. M. Tielens, Geoffrey C. Clayton, Albert A. Zijlstra, Margaret Meixner, Angela. Speck, Tim M. Gledhill and Nino Panagia. "Massive-star Supernovae As Major Dust Factories." Science 313 (2006): 196-200.  
Barbara Ercolano, Jeremy J. Drake, John C. Raymond and Cathie C. Clarke. "X-ray-irradiated Protoplanetary Disk Atmospheres. I. Predicted Emission-line Spectrum and Photoevaporation." The Astrophysical Journal 688 (2008): No. 398.  
Barbara Ercolano, Peter R. Young, Jeremy J. Drake and John C. Raymond. "X-ray Enabled MOCASSIN: A Three-dimensional Code for Photoionized Media." The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 175 (2008): No. 534.  
Barbara Ercolano, Cathie J. Clarke and Jeremy J. Drake. "X-ray Irradiated Protoplanetary Disk Atmospheres. II. Predictions From Models in Hydrostatic Equilibrium." The Astrophysical Journal 699 (2009): 16-39.  
James E. Owen, Barbara Ercolano, Catherine J. Clarke and Richard D. Alexander. "Radiation-hydrodynamic Models of X-ray and EUV Photoevaporating Protoplanetary Discs." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 401 (2010): 1415-1428.  
Barbara Ercolano and James E. Owen. "Theoretical Spectra of Photoevaporating Protoplanetary Discs: An Atlas of Atomic and Low-ionization Emission Lines." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 406 (2010): 1553-1569.  
James E. Dale, Barbara Ercolano and Ian A. Bonnell. "Ionizing feedback from Massive Stars in Massive Clusters–II. Disruption of Bound Clusters by Photoionization." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 424 (2012): 377-392.  
Simon Casassus, Gerrit van der Plas, Sebastian Perez, William R. F. Dent, Ed Fomalont, Janis Hagelberg, Antonio Hales, Andrés Jordán, Dimitri Mawet and Francois Ménard. "Flows of Gas Through a Protoplanetary Gap." Nature 493 (2013): 191-194.  

since 2010

Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Faculty of Physics

2010

Lecturer of Astrophysics

University of Exeter

2008-2010

Advanced Fellow

University of Cambridge

Center for Astrophysics

2006-2008

Research Assistant

Harvard University

Center for Astrophysics

2003-2006

Research Assistant

University College London

Department of Astronomy

2002

PhD in Astronomy

University College London

1999

Msci in Astrophysics

University College London

Prizes

Royal Astronomical Society Fowler Price for Early Career Achievements (2010)

Fellowships

STFC Advanced fellowship (2009)

What makes exoplanets habitable? BARBARA ERCOLANO pursues this overarching question by focusing on the birth sites of these planets. Planets are born in the circumstellar disk that surrounds every young star. The specific research question presented in this video centers on the star TW Hydrae, which is very close to earth. The researchers investigated whether the T Tauri star “TW Hydrae” has a protoplanetary disk that is on the verge of dispersal. At this stage these disks affect the formation of planetary systems. Observations from ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) show that there is a hole at the center of TW Hydrae. Using numerical simulations to construct a theoretical model that fits all the observations of the star, the researchers established that the most likely explanation of this hole is that TW Hydrae is really about to disperse. This finding suggests TW Hydrae as a perfect case study for understanding this crucial element in the development of protoplanetary disks.

LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10438

The Dispersal of Planet-forming Discs: Theory Confronts Observations

  • Barbara Ercolano and Ilaria Pascucci
  • Royal Society Open Science
  • Published in 2017

Chicago

Barbara Ercolano and Ilaria Pascucci. "The Dispersal of Planet-forming Discs: Theory Confronts Observations." Royal Society Open Science 4 (2017): No. 170114.

A Photoevaporative Gap in the Closest Planet-forming Disc

  • Barbara Ercolano, Giovanni P. Rosotti, Giovanni Picogna and Leonardo Testi
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
  • Published in 2017

Chicago

Barbara Ercolano, Giovanni P. Rosotti, Giovanni Picogna and Leonardo Testi. "A Photoevaporative Gap in the Closest Planet-forming Disc." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 464 (2017): 95-99.

The Link Between Disc Dispersal by Photoevaporation and the Semimajor Axis Distribution of Exoplanets

  • Barbara Ercolano and Giovanni Rosotti
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Published in 2015

Chicago

Barbara Ercolano and Giovanni Rosotti. "The Link Between Disc Dispersal by Photoevaporation and the Semimajor Axis Distribution of Exoplanets." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 450 (2015): 3008-3014.