Inner Disk Structures Around Herbig Stars: Statistical Approach

Thesis Supervisor: Aaron Labdon


For the first time the inner disks of young stellar objects are being resolved in significant numbers to look at the population on a statistical level. Such studies allow use to answer some of the long standing questions around planet formation: When does planet formation start? Do the inner planets for in-situ or migrate? At the same time it is also within the innermost regions that several fundamental processes occur such as accretion and stellar and disk winds. How such critical processes affect planet formation is poorly understood, and requires spatially and spectra resolving the inner disk regions.

In this project we will search for traces of planet formation in the inner disk, study binarity and their disk interactions, and search for key tracers such as CO or Br-gamma which can trace accretion and outflows. This project is based on new VLTI/GRAVITY and CHARA/MIRCX-MYSTIC data of previously unobserved young Herbig stars. The scope of the project can be adjusted to suit the student and length of the studentship: Objects with interesting sub-structures or processes can be followed-up with new proposals. For many of these objects we also obtained mid-resolution spectra with VLT/XSHOOTER, which can be incorporated into the analysis.
Collaboration opportunities within this project include scientific experts Abigail Frost and Evgenia Koumpia as well as many interferometry experts from different fields. Within Santiago there are several very strong groups working with ALMA observations of protoplanetary disks.

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