Sunday, August 16, 2015

Observations of Solids in Protoplanetary Disks

Observations of Solids in Protoplanetary Disks




This review addresses the state of research that employs astronomical (remote sensing) observations of solids ("dust") in young circumstellar disks to learn about planet formation. The intention is for it to serve as an accessible, introductory, pedagogical resource for junior scientists interested in the subject. After some historical background and a basic observational primer, the focus is shifted to the three fundamental topics that broadly define the field: (1) demographics -- the relationships between disk properties and the characteristics of their environments and hosts; (2) structure -- the spatial distribution of disk material and its associated physical conditions and composition; and (3) evolution -- the signposts of key changes in disk properties, including the growth and migration of solids and the impact of dynamical interactions with young planetary systems. Based on the state of the art results in these areas, suggestions are made for potentially fruitful lines of work in the near future.

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