PI: Andrea Banzatti, Space Telescope Science Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org
CoI: James Muzerolle, STScI
CoI: John Lacy, UT Austin
CoI: Matt Richter, UC Davis
CoI: Elisabetta Rigliaco, University of Arizona
Title: Water vapor in planet-formation regions: pinpointing the effects of variable UV radiation
Abstract: Infrared molecular emission from young circumstellar disks provides a unique way to study the environments where planets form. Monitoring of such emission during variable accretion phases recently offered first evidence that episodic changes in accretion luminosity from the central star affect the properties and evolution of molecules in planet-formation regions (Banzatti et al. 2012, 2014). Here we propose to use TEXES to tackle this outstanding problem, providing a unique experiment to extant models. We will observe DQ Tau in and out of one of its recurring accretion flares, expected to occur on August 12-13 right in the middle of the TEXES run at Gemini. DQ Tau is a binary system that offers the extremely rare opportunity of predictable accretion flares, linked to periastron passage. Depending on the observed reaction of water and OH emission during the flare, we will be able to pinpoint whether UV radiation works in favor of or against the presence of water (and other molecules essential for life) in the planet formation region of young disks.
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