Proto-planetary Disks in Metal-Poor Environments

Monday, 14 November 2016 8 a.m. — 9 a.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
LUKE KELLER (Charles A. Dana Professor in the Natural Sciences, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Ithaca College)

Proto-planetary disks that have formed in a metal-poor environment may evolve differently than disks orbiting stars in the Milky Way. We have observed several stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a nearby metal-poor dwarf galaxy, that have UV-VIS-IR spectral properties of T Tauri and Herbig Ae/Be stars, including strong H-alpha emission and UV continuum excess. Infrared spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope show strong excess emission indicating the presence of silicate dust, molecular and atomic gas, ices, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). I will discuss our observations of these systems and how studies in nearby metal-poor environments may help us understand planet formation in the early universe.