Michael Ireland (Australian National University)
Thursday April 6th - 11am
IPAG Seminar Room - IPAG
Imaging the process of giant planet formation in the nearest young associations is just at the edge of possibility with 8-10m class telescopes. Empirical evidence is mounting that giant planets with separations from their host star wider than that of Jupiter are relatively rare. At a 5 AU separation (0.035 arcsec), a young Jupiter is barely resolved from its host star on 8-10m class telescopes, but is well resolved by an ELT. I will describe the fundamental limits of non-coronagraphic imaging, augmented by techniques such as aperture mask interferometry, kernel-phase and other modelling and imaging techniques currently under development. I will show how these techniques will be able to both image newly formed exoplanets (such as LkCa 15) and signatures of planet formation in young protoplanetary disks. To properly resolve planet formation and distinguish between models, we will need to resolve scales as small as the Hill sphere, requiring an interferometer. I will describe a baseline design for the Planet Formation Imager (PFI), and also describe the utility of a stellar imaging interferometer as part of a technical roadmap for PFI.
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