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Where does the gas in exoKuiper belts come from?

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Minor bodies similar to asteroids and comets are a ubiquitous component of planetary systems, typically found in belts analogous to the Asteroid and Kuiper belt in the Solar System. Although we cannot detect these km-sized bodies individually, mutual collisions produce high dust levels that are readily detectable in cold belts around 30% of nearby stars. Over the last 5 years, it has become clear that many of these cold exoKuiper belts contain vast amounts of gas of unknown origin. In this seminar, I will present the recent efforts to understand the origin of this gas and how it could originate from volatile-rich bodies (i.e. exocomets) in exoKuiper belts. These long-lived and gas-rich circumstellar disks could have strong implications for the formation timescales and atmospheres of exoplanets.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Seminars series.

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