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Proceedings Paper

Evolution of circumstellar disks: lessons from the VLT and ISO
Author(s): Wolfgang Brandner; Andrea Moneti; Hans Zinnecker
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Paper Abstract

There is strong evidence that the planets in the solar system evolved from a disk-shaped solar nebula 4.56 Gyr ago. By studying young stars in various evolutionary stages, one aims at tracing back the early history of the solar system, in particular the timescales for disk survival and for the formation of planetary systems. ISOCAM observations show a steady decrease in the amount of infrared excess from <2 Myr old T Tauri stars to post-T Tauri stars with ages around 10 Myr. The diminished infrared excess can be explained by changes in the global dust opacities due to, e.g., grain growth on timescales of 5 to 15 Myr. In a second program we employed VLT & ISAAC to search for spatially resolved circumstellar disks around young stellar objects (YSOs) in southern star forming regions. The project aimed at establishing a sample suitable for follow-up studies with even higher angular resolution using adaptive optics at the VLT. Two disks seen close to edge-on could be identified. A comparison to HH 30 confirms theoretical predictions that a slight change in the viewing angle of a disk leads to a dramatic difference in the spectral energy distribution of YSOs. This highlights the importance of spatially resolved observations. Finally, we used ISAAC for a near infrared study of the low-mass population in the starburst cluster NGC 3603. The absence of intrinsic infrared excess in the majority of star indicates a paucity of circumstellar disks. Hence extreme environments like starburst clusters might not be fostering the formation of planetary systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 February 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4834, Discoveries and Research Prospects from 6- to 10-Meter-Class Telescopes II, (13 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.457703
Show Author Affiliations
Wolfgang Brandner, Max-Planck-Institut fuer Astronomie (Germany)
European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Andrea Moneti, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (France)
Hans Zinnecker, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4834:
Discoveries and Research Prospects from 6- to 10-Meter-Class Telescopes II
Puragra Guhathakurta, Editor(s)

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