NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0388

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0388


PI: James W. Davidson Jr., University of Toledo, jdavid@physics.utoledo.edu
Address: Physics Department, 2801 W. Bancroft St., MS#113, Toledo, OH 43606, USA

CoI: Karen S. Bjorkman, University of Toledo
CoI: John P. Wisniewski, University of Washington
CoI: Antonio Mario Magalhaes, University of Sao Paulo
CoI: Jon E. Bjorkman, University of Toledo
CoI: Uma P. Vijh, University of Toledo

Title: The First Spectropolarimetric View of Potential Extragalactic Protoplanetary Disk Systems

Abstract: Our current understanding of the process of planet formation indicates that exoplanets arise from the natal gas+dust disks of young pre-main-sequence stars. Statistical studies of the 340+ Galactic exoplanets identified to date suggest that the metallicity of the parent circumstellar envelope may influence the formation (or identification) of planets. This metallicity dependence motivates the study of protoplanetary disks in environments such as the LMC and SMC, which have substantially lower metallicities (z=0.002-0.007) than that of our Galaxy (z ~0.018). Unfortunately, identifying bona-fide Herbig Ae/Be protoplanetary disks in the SMC/LMC has proven difficult; detailed spectroscopic and photometric studies suggest most candidate objects are actually main-sequence classical Be stars. We propose to continue our successful 2008B program of obtaining the first spectropolarimetric observations of candidate Herbig Ae/Be stars which are considered likely to be pre-main-sequence targets, to a) provide clear evidence that these objects are not classical Be stars; and b) begin to parameterize the fundamental geometry of their circumstellar environments.


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