Using Debris Disks to Trace the Dynamics of Planetary Systems


Debris disks are signposts of mature planetary systems, and resolved images of dust grains act like test particles that trace the dynamics of embedded planets. I will describe ongoing efforts with the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) to learn about the dynamics of planetary systems using signatures imprinted on the dust and gas in debris disks around nearby stars. In particular, I will discuss how the vertical structure of the disk allows us to measure the prevalence of Uranus and Neptune analogs, how resolving the dust distribution in systems with directly imaged companions can allow us to dynamically measure their masses, and how observations of gas and dust allow us to distinguish between models of planet formation mechanisms.



Wesleyan University


Meredith Hughes