Following the Trail of Water in Star and Planet Formation

In this talk I outline new advances in our understanding of the formation and transport of water from clouds to disks, planetesimals, and planets.   This is based in large part on new observational results from the Spitzer and Herschel Space Observatories encompassing the entire star/planet formation evolutionary sequence in regions that are analogs to the birth environment of our solar system.  Using the emission from water molecules in space we can follow the formation of water before stellar birth and its supply as ice to the initial planet-forming disk via gravitational collapse.  In disks we are finding a pervasive presence of water vapor in the terrestrial planet-forming zone and inferring abundant water ice at larger distances from the star where giant planets are born.  This distribution can impact the process of planet formation, along with the resulting composition of forming Earth’s and gas giants. We summarize the isotopic clues that can be used to provide grounding data for exploring the origin of Earth’s water and end with an exploration of the prevailing theories for water delivery to an initially dry silicate-rich rocky world.

Cody Hall

Edwin Bergin (Michigan)

March 07, 2014
14:00 - 15:00