Witnessing the Birth of Planets: The Structure and Chemistry of Planet-Forming Disks

To date, there are more than 5000 exoplanets discovered in our neighborhood, showcasing a remarkable diversity in planetary system architectures. Unraveling the planet formation process, as well as the origin of this diversity, requires a comprehensive understanding of their birth sites - the dusty and gas-rich disks orbiting around young stars. ALMA’s unprecedented spatial resolution and sensitivity have enabled a detailed examination of the physical and chemical structures of planet-forming disks (at ~10 au scale). The detections of gaps and rings in numerous disks have transformed our understanding of disk evolution and planet formation. I will provide a summary on the detection and characterization of disk substructures, and discuss the exciting avenue of young planet search as guided by these disk features. While ALMA excels in probing the bulk disk property, the very innermost disk (within 1-3 au), remains elusive to its capabilities, which can now be well studied with the recent launch of JWST. I will touch upon our expanding view of the inner disk chemistry, especially the interplay with substructures at large disk radii. By leveraging the capabilities of ALMA and JWST, we aim at establishing a global view of disk evolution, laying the groundwork for the development of a robust predictive model of planet formation.

Feng Long (University of Arizona)
Xian Chen
Tuesday, January 9, 2024 - 9:30AM to Tuesday, January 9, 2024 - 10:30AM
Feng Long is currently a NASA Hubble Fellowship Program Sagan Fellow at the Lunar and Planetary Lab of the University of Arizona. Dr. Long obtained her PhD in 2019 at Peking University and worked at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian as an SMA Postdoc Fellow from 2019 to 2022. Her research focuses on the formation and evolution of protoplanetary disks, employing cutting-edge facilities (e.g., ALMA, JWST) to understand the planet assembly process.