University of Cambridge > > Exoplanet Seminars > Investigating the radial structure of exoKuiper belts

Investigating the radial structure of exoKuiper belts

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Mathias Nowak.

Planetary systems are not only composed of planets but also of minor bodies similar to asteroids and comets, which we typically find in belts analogous to the Asteroid and Kuiper belt in the Solar System. Although we cannot detect these bodies individually, mutual collisions between these km-sized planetesimals produce high dust levels that are readily detectable in exoKuiper belts around 30% of nearby stars. These planetesimals form as a byproduct of planet formation and their distribution and dynamics is shaped by the presence of planets in a similar way as the Asteroid and the Kuiper belts were shaped by Jupiter and Neptune. Therefore, these belts provide unique and complementary constraints on the formation, architecture, and dynamics of planetary systems. In this seminar, I will give an overview of the study of Kuiper belt analogues (exoKuiper belts) and will dive into the study of their radial structure using ALMA observations. I will show how we can use the radial structure to infer the presence of planets, constrain the level of dynamical stirring in these belts, and assess how these belts are formed. These studies are opening a window into the outer regions of planetary systems that are complementary to exoplanet surveys and planet formation studies.

This talk is part of the Exoplanet Seminars series.

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