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Unveiling the Physics of Protoplanet Formation: Connecting Theory to Observations

15th July 2018 - 5th August 2018
Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen, Colorado, United States


Unprecedented high angular resolution imagery of circumstellar disks have revealed rings, spirals, and crescents in the gas and dust distribution around young (< 5 million years) pre-main sequence stars. These structures are the signposts of forming planetary systems, and probe the mass, orbit, and formation timescale of young planets. Observations have also revealed spatial variations of the dust particle sizes and changes in the chemical composition of the circumstellar gas. These constrain the processes responsible for the agglomeration of the large bodies (asteroids and comets) that are required to initiate the formation of rocky planets. The recent results stimulate a revision of planet formation models and push for new theoretical studies aimed at understanding the interactions between disks and planets, as well as the physics of solid particles in gaseous disks. The goal of this workshop is to bring together theorists and observers to collaborate on unveiling the key physical processes responsible for the formation of planets and the evolution of solids in protoplanetary disks.

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