NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0191

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Proposal Information for 2011A-0191


PI: Stefan Kraus, Univ. of Michigan, NASA Sagan Fellow, stefankr@umich.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

CoI: Nuria Calvet, Univ. of Michigan
CoI: Catherine Espaillat, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, NSF Fellow
CoI: John D. Monnier, Univ. of Michigan
CoI: Rafael Millan-Gabet, NExSci, Caltech
CoI: Michael L. Sitko, Space Science Institute
CoI: David J. Wilner, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Title: Resolving planet-cleared gaps in transitional/pre-transitional disks with NIR+MIR+sub-mm interferometry

Abstract: Pre-transitional and transitional disks are believed to be protoplanetary disks with a gapped or dust-cleared inner disk structure, potentially revealing the gravitational influence of young planets in these systems. We propose Keck Interferometry and Gemini/T-ReCS imaging observations, which will spatially resolve the inner structure of 7 well- studied (pre-)transitional disks over a wide wavelength range. Together with existing SMA sub-mm and VLTI mid-infrared interferometry, these observations will allow us to study the disk geometry at (lambda) ~ 1.6, 2.2, 3.5, 8, 12, and 850 (mu)m, providing direct constraints on the inner disk radius, the gap geometry, and the radial temperature distribution. Comparing the derived disk structures for transitional and pre-transitional disks will allow us to probe whether these object classes have a common disk-clearing mechanism and form an evolutionary sequence. Besides the dust continuum, our observations will also cover gas-tracing spectral lines, revealing the spatial location and kinematics of hydrogen and CO-gas on (sub-)AU scales. Combining the NIR, MIR, and sub-mm data in a global radiative transfer model will enable us to break fundamental ambiguities which are inherent to SED or single-wavelength interferometric observations, providing essential input for models of terrestrial planet formation.


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