NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0394

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0394


PI: Colette Salyk, University of Texas, csalyk@astro.as.utexas.edu
Address: McDonald Observatory, 1 University Station, C1402, Austin, TX 78712, United States

CoI: Klaus M. Pontoppidan, California Institute of Technology
CoI: Geoffrey A. Blake, California Institute of Technology
CoI: Rowin Meijerink, Leiden Observatory

Title: Water vapor in planet-forming regions: A new ground-based window on disk chemistry

Abstract: We propose to obtain high resolution spectra of water gas-phase lines in the N-band with Michelle toward two protoplanetary disks around young solar-type stars in Taurus. Spitzer-IRS spectroscopy has shown that protoplanetary disks around low-mass young stars are generally blanketed in the mid-IR with strong molecular emission lines. However, at the low spectral resolution of the IRS, the emission lines are unresolved and blended, making their interpretation difficult, even in the context of sophisticated radiative transfer disk models. Here we propose to use the high spectral resolution of Michelle to separate and spectrally resolve several water emission lines, to determine the origin of the emission, and its variation from disk to disk. The brightest disks in Ophiuchus have been successfully observed with VLT-VISIR; here, we use the superior sensitivity of Michelle to observe two lower- luminosity disks in Taurus. By demonstrating the feasibility of efficient ground-based observations of water in disks, we will open a new ground-based window on the chemistry of inner disks and the transport of water in planet-forming regions.


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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