NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0212

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Proposal Information for 2011A-0212


PI: Tracy Beck, Space Telescope Science Institute, tbeck@stsci.edu
Address: 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

CoI: Rita Mann, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
CoI: Jeff Bary, Colgate University

Title: Circumstellar Gas in Proto-Solar Nebula Analogs: NIFS Observations of Proplyd 253-1536

Abstract: The formation of planetary systems is intimately connected to the properties of the circumstellar disks in which they are formed. While most disk studies have focused on nearby star forming regions like Taurus for their proximity, most stars actually form in dense clusters near massive OB-stars like those in Orion. Building on the success of our NIFS observations of H2 in circumstellar disks in Taurus, we propose to observe the young binary "proplyd" in Orion, 253-1536, to measure its molecular gas content. Although molecular gas is the dominant constituent of circumstellar disks, (99% by mass), it has not been spatially resolved toward any disks in Orion to date. If we can spatially resolve the H2 emission from the disk, we can directly estimate the mass of emitting molecular gas in these disks, and constrain the gas-to-dust ratio for the first time in Orion. Our proposed observations will allow more accurate measurements of the disk masses, and will constrain models for the potential of disks to form planets in the typical birth environment of most stars in our Galaxy.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0212

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