NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0325

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0325


PI: Andrew Skemer, University of Arizona, askemer@as.arizona.edu
Address: Steward Observatory, 933 N. Cherry Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA

CoI: Laird Close, University of Arizona
CoI: Thomas Greene, NASA Ames
CoI: Philip Hinz, University of Arizona
CoI: Tracy Beck, Space Telescope Science Institute

Title: Resolved Silicate Emission in T Tauri Binaries: Determining the Parameters that Lead to Planet Formation

Abstract: The morphology of the 10\micron silicate feature in T Tauri stars can be used to infer grain-growth, which is one of the initial steps to planet formation. The properties that lead to grain growth are still unknown, in part, because the effects of stellar age are difficult to disentangle in large samples. Here we propose to use binaries, and their coeval properties to remove this degeneracy. Spatially resolved Gemini/Michelle spectra will allow us to determine how the silicate feature varies between binary components. If the spectral morphologies are similar, then stellar age might be the dominant parameter in grain-growth and planet formation. If the spectral morphologies are different, then other parameters (such as stellar mass, disk flaring geometry, accretion, binary separation and binary mass ratio) are likely more important. Our proposed data set will allow us to identify the dominant parameters which affect the silicate feature as a tracer of planet formation. Our Gemini/Michelle data will comprise spatially resolved ``low-N" spectra, and ``Si-4" and ``Qa" photometry for 7 binaries in Taurus. This will complement a similar 13 binary survey currently under way at the 6.5 meter MMT. The MMT mid-IR adaptive optics system can resolve tighter binaries than Gemini, but Gemini is much more sensitive. Together, the two data sets will provide the first large sample of spatially and spectrally resolved young binaries in the mid-infrared.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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