AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 24 When Do Planets Form?
Topical Oral, Tuesday, May 27, 2003, 8:30-10:00am and 10:45am-12:30pm, 204

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[24.14] Structure and Evolution of Circumstellar Disks Around Young Stars: Placing Our Solar System in Context with SIRTF

M. R. Meyer (Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona)

Over the past 10 years abundant evidence has emerged that many (if not all) stars are born with circumstellar disks. While concensus is emerging concerning the the early evolution of accretion disks (tau < 10 Myr) and the characterization of older debris disks (tau > 1 Gyr) continues at a rapid pace, little is known about the transition between these two extremes thought to occur during the epoch of planet formation. Recent studies undertaken with ground and space-based observatories are helping to address questions concerning the structure and evolution of disks around young stars. NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility, set for launch in 2003, will be a powerful tool to help us understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Within the SIRTF Legacy Science Program, a wide range of studies will be undertaken to characterize gas and dust distributions surrounding stars in the protostellar phase to those similar in age to the Sun. These observations will constrain theories of planet formation and in the process help to place our solar system in context.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.