Matching Items (4)

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Directly Imaging Circumstellar Debris Disks

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Debris disks are a collection of dust grains and planetesimals around a star and are thought to contain the remnants of planet formation. Directly imaging debris disks and studying their

Debris disks are a collection of dust grains and planetesimals around a star and are thought to contain the remnants of planet formation. Directly imaging debris disks and studying their morphologies is valuable for studying the planet formation process. In some stellar systems that have a directly imaged debris disk, there are also directly imaged planets. Debris disk structures like gaps and asymmetries can show the gravitational e↵ects of planets that are below the brightness threshold for being detected via direct imaging. We investigate a sample of debris disks in Scorpius-Centaurus (Sco-Cen) that were imaged with the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), which is an adaptive optics system with a coronagraph to block starlight. We look at two GPI data sets, the GPIES campaign Sco-Cen targets, and a follow-up observing program for Sco-Cen targets. We resolve 5 debris disks in the follow-up program and 13 from the GPIES campaign. By calculating contrast curves, we determine the planet detection limit in each of the GPI images. We find that we could have detected 5 Jupiter mass planets at angular separations greater than about 0.6 arcseconds in our GPIES campaign images. In three of our images we could have detected 2 Jupiter mass planets in wide orbits, but 2 Jupiter masses below the detection limit in our other images. We identify one point source around HD 108904 as a sub-stellar companion candidate. To further check for evidence of planets that are below the detection limit, we measure the surface brightness profile of the disks to check for asymmetries in brightness. We find that one of the edge-on disks has an asymmetric surface brightness profile, HD 106906, and three other edge-on disks have symmetric surface brightness profiles. We also find that two disks, HD 106906 and HD 111520, are asymmetric in radial extent, which is possibly evidence for gravitational interactions with planets.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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The Primary Atmospheres of Planets: The Formation, The Impact on Planet Formation and How to Characterize Them

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Planets are generally believed to form in protoplanetary disks within a few million years (Myr) to several hundred Myr. But planetary embryos or protoplanets likely exist before disk gas dissipates

Planets are generally believed to form in protoplanetary disks within a few million years (Myr) to several hundred Myr. But planetary embryos or protoplanets likely exist before disk gas dissipates (in three to ten Myr), capturing H2 -rich primary atmospheres from the nebula. Exploring these primordial atmospheres of planets provides a pathway to understanding the origins and the diversity of planets in the solar system and beyond. In this dissertation, I studied the primary atmospheres by modeling their formation, their impacts on planet formation, and determining methods to characterize them on exoplanets.

First, I numerically investigated the flow structures and dynamics of the primary atmospheres accreted on Earth-sized planets with eccentric orbits. Such planets can generate atmosphere-stripping bow shocks, as their relative velocities to the gas are generally supersonic. The atmospheres are three to four orders of magnitude less massive than those of planets with circular orbits. Hydrodynamic simulations also revealed large-scale recycling gas flow in the post-shock regions. This study provides important insights into the impacts of migration and scattering on primary atmospheres.

Second, I looked into how the presence of the primary atmosphere affects the trajectories of chondrule precursors passing through a planetary bow shock. To determine what magnetic fields chondrules were exposed to as they cooled below their Curie points, I computed the gas properties and magnetic diffusion rates in the bow shock region of a planet with and without the primary atmosphere. I concluded that, if melted in planetary bow shocks, most chondrules were cooled in the far downstream and they probably recorded the background nebular field.

Last, I studied the characterization of cloudy primary atmospheres on exoplanets using a Bayesian retrieval approach. I focused on obtaining bulk cloud properties and the impact of clouds on constraining various atmospheric properties through transmission spectroscopy using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Most key atmospheric and cloud inferences can be well constrained in the wavelength range (0.6 – 11 µ m) but there are different optimal wavelengths for constraining atmosphere or cloud parameters. Other results including degeneracies among cloud parameters can also serve as a guideline for future observers.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Can Porphyritic Chondrules Form in Planetary Embryo Bow Shocks?

Description

An exhaustive parameter study involving 133 dynamic crystallization experiments was conducted, to investigate the validity of the planetary embryo bow shock model by testing whether the cooling rates predicted by

An exhaustive parameter study involving 133 dynamic crystallization experiments was conducted, to investigate the validity of the planetary embryo bow shock model by testing whether the cooling rates predicted by this model are consistent with the most dominant chondrule texture, porphyritic. Results show that using coarse-grained precursors and heating durations ≤ 5 minutes at peak temperature, porphyritic textures can be reproduced at cooling rates ≤ 600 K/hr, rates consistent with planetary embryo bow shocks. Porphyritic textures were found to be commonly associated with skeletal growth, which compares favorably to features in natural chondrules from Queen Alexandra Range 97008 analyzed, which show similar skeletal features. It is concluded that the experimentally reproduced porphyritic textures are consistent with those of natural chondrules. This work shows heating duration is a major determinant of chondrule texture and the work further constrains this parameter by measuring the rate of chemical dissolution of relict grains. The results provide a robust, independent constraint that porphyritic chondrules were heated at their peak temperatures for ≤ 10 minutes. This is also consistent with heating by bow shocks. The planetary embryo bow shock model therefore remains a viable chondrule mechanism for the formation of the vast majority of chondrules, and the results presented here therefore strongly suggest that large planetary embryos were present and on eccentric orbits during the first few million years of the Solar System’s history.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

Systematics of giant impacts in late-stage planet formation and active neutron experiments on the surface of Mars

Description

Part I – I analyze a database of Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations of collisions between planetary bodies and use the data to define semi-empirical models that reproduce remant masses.

Part I – I analyze a database of Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations of collisions between planetary bodies and use the data to define semi-empirical models that reproduce remant masses. These models may be leveraged when detailed, time-dependent aspects of the collision are not paramount, but analytical intuition or a rapid solution is required, e.g. in ‘N-body simulations’. I find that the stratification of the planet is a non-negligible control on accretion efficiency. I also show that the absolute scale (total mass) of the collision may affect the accretion efficiency, with larger bodies more efficiently disrupting, as a function of gravitational binding energy. This is potentially due to impact velocities above the sound speed. The interplay of these dependencies implies that planet formation, depending on the dynamical environment, may be separated into stages marked by differentiation and the growth of planets more massive than the Moon.

Part II – I examine time-resolved neutron data from the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover. I personally and independently developed a data analysis routine (described in the supplementary material in Chapter 2) that utilizes spectra from Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport models of the experiment and the Markov-chain Monte Carlo method to estimate bulk soil/rock properties. The method also identifies cross-correlation and degeneracies. I use data from two measurement campaigns that I targeted during remote operations at ASU. I find that alteration zones of a sandstone unit in Gale crater are markedly elevated in H content from the parent rock, consistent with the presence of amorphous silica. I posit that these deposits were formed by the most recent aqueous alteration events in the crater, since subsequent events would have produced matured forms of silica that were not observed. I also find that active dunes in Gale crater contain minimal water and I developed a Monte Carlo phase analysis routine to understand the amorphous materials in the dunes.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019