NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0161

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0161


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 Keck+Gemini aperture masking observations, which will spatially resolve the inner structure of 7 well-studied (pre-)transitional disks over a wide wavelength range. This will allow us to search very effectively for stellar or sub-stellar companions located in the disk gap and to characterize the inner disk geometry. Together with existing SMA sub-mm and VLTI mid-infrared interferometry, these observations will cover wavelength bands around 1.6, 2.2, 3.5, 8, 12, and 850 (micron) and constrain directly the inner and outer disk radius, the gap geometry, and the radial temperature distribution. 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 new input for models of terrestrial planet formation.


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