Institute of Astronomy

Tracing the building blocks of habitable worlds from disks to planets

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Oliver Shorttle (IoA and Earth Sciences, Cambs)5 December 2019Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


The elements carbon, water, and sulfur are some of the most abundant in the universe, are major constituents of planetary atmospheres, and are essential constituents of all known life. Yet, their arrival on planets and distribution therein remains uncertain. In large part this is due to their volatile nature: each element may form species that readily enter the gas phase at the temperatures and pressures of planetary differentiation. Here, we combine observations from Earth with observations from protoplanetary disks. Combining geochemical and astrophysical observations in this way gives us new insight into how these elements were partitioned between gas and dust during accretion, and where they are ultimately distributed in planets.