PI: Naibi Marinas, University of Florida, email@example.com
Address: Department of Astronomy, PO Box 112055, 211 Bryant Space Science Center,, Gainesville, FL, 32611-2055, USA
CoI: Charles M. Telesco, University of Florida
CoI: R. Scott Fisher, Gemini Observatory - North
Title: Mid-Infrared Imaging of Disks of Transitional Herbig Ae/Be Stars
Abstract: We propose to use Michelle to image at 10 and 20 microns the circumstellar environments of 7 northern Herbig Ae/Be stars that are in at an evolutionary stage between the very young embedded Herbig stars and their main sequence progeny, the Vega-type stars. By choosing this special sample of "transitional" stars, we will be able to explore disks at an early phase of planet formation. Because they have evolved beyond the heavily embedded phase, most of the excess IR emission should be associated with circumstellar disks rather than placental envelopes. Nevertheless, high-angular-resolution, background-limited imaging with Michelle will distinguish disks from any extended residual envelope emission, and permit identification of IR-bright companions if present. A key goal is to spatially resolve disks or place severe limits on the sizes of the mid-IR-emitting regions, the success of which is enhanced by the proximity of most of these objects (< 300 pc). Limits on the source sizes constrain dust particle temperatures and sizes and provide insight into the planetary growth process and evolutionary stage of the disk.
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