Scott KENYON : Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Evolution of debris disks: theoryThe discovery of debris disks surrounding nearby stars has revolutionized our understanding of planet formation. Ground-based and satellite images of these systems reveal an interesting variety of large disks, thick tori, and delicate rings of dust. Spectral energy distributions indicate that the dust is cool, with typical temperatures of 30-300 K. Analyses of these data demonstrate that the building blocks for solar systems commonly exist in disk-like structures around other stars. Theoretical calculations show how collisions and radiative processes transform a massive disk of gas and dust into a planetary system and a debris disk. In this review, I will summarize the basic theory and recent numerical simulations of the formation and evolution of debris disks and show how data from our and other solar systems improve our general picture of planet formation. The NASA Astrophysics Theory Program supported part of this project through grant NAG5-13278.
Last modified: Sun Jul 9 17:45:38 2006