Institute of Astronomy

Protoplanetary worlds at the astronomical unit scale: the infrared long-baseline interferometry view

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Jean-Philippe Berger, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble16 October 2008Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


In the last ten years the technique of long-baseline interferometry at
infrared wavelengths has
allowed the inner astronomical units of numerous young stellar objects to
be probed. These new
observations, initially sizes measurements, have revealed the need for a
profound revision of
standard accretion disk paradigm at these angular scales. In the first
part of the talk I will
review the most recent observational advances in that field. These
include spectrally resolved
observations with the VLTI/AMBER and the first steps towards direct
imaging of young disks at the spatial
scales of planetary formation. These works point out the need for refined
models of the
complex interaction between the star, the mass loss phenomenon and the
accretion disk. I will
discuss the current observational limitations both in terms of image
dynamics and sensitivity.

This will lead me, in a second part, to present the second generation
VLTI instruments Gravity and
VSI that will see the light between 2013 and 2016. I will briefly mention
the technological
innovations at the heart of there concepts that will help to overcome the
current issues. These
instruments will soon offer the european astronomical community with a
unique tool to directly image
protoplanetary worlds at the astronomical scale.


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