RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Thursday, 17 September 2015, 11:00-12:00; Duffield Lecture Theatre

Daniel Price

"Rings and no spirals - planet formation in action?"

Planet formation is a subject being revolutionised by the stunning first long-baseline images from the ALMA telescope in Chile. The first of these, of the HL Tau protoplanetary disc, revealed a striking series of concentric rings but oddly, no spirals, as one might expect if the gaps in the disc are being carved by newborn planets. In this talk I’ll show how the rings in HL Tau can be beautifully and convincingly explained as being caused by protoplanets, but only when the interaction between gas and dust in the disc is accounted for. If there’s time I’ll speculate on what the future holds, what we’re likely to learn in the next 5-10 years from direct imaging of discs with ALMA, HiCIAO and other telescopes, why supporting theoretical work is urgently required, and why we are well placed to plug that gap.