NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0144

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0144


PI: Leslie Hebb, Vanderbilt University, leslie.hebb@vanderbilt.edu
Address: Physics Department, 6301 Stevenson Center, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

CoI: Larry Petro, Space Telescope Science Institute
CoI: Holland C. Ford, The Johns Hopkins University

Title: Detecting Star-grazing comets in young debris disk systems

Abstract: During the early phase of planetary formation and evolution after the protoplanetary gas disk has dissipated, existing gas giant planets continue to migrate via interactions with their planetesimal disks. Planet-planetesimal interactions can create families of high eccentricity comets that pass near to their host stars. These star- grazing comets leave observable signatures in their host star spectra which consist of narrow, time-varying, high velocity absorption features of refractory elements. Here, we propose to detect such star-grazing comets around a large sample of young, debris disk host stars. The proposed observations will allow us to infer the presence of giant planets in these young systems, to observe directly the results of planet-planetesimal disk interactions, and to investigate this scenario as a mechanism for carrying water to rocky planets in exo-solar systems.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0144

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