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Astronomy Colloquium

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Online and In-Person Event
The Debris Disk Paradigm and its Challenges
Mark Wyatt, Professor of Astronomy, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge,

Debris disk is a catch-all term that refers to any component of a planetary system that is not a planet. In the Solar System this refers to the asteroids and comets in the Asteroid and Kuiper belts as well as the dust and gas derived from them, such as the zodiacal cloud. Studying the structure of extrasolar debris disks provides unique constraints on the underlying planetary system and on the processes of planet formation and protoplanetary disk evolution. Debris disks also have important implications for processes affecting the planets, such as impact events that may strip an atmosphere or deliver volatiles. Their presence or absence also has consequences both positive and negative for the detectability of exoplanets in the system. In this colloquium I will describe the paradigm that explains most observations of debris disks (which is one of collisionally eroding planetesimal belts that were born in protoplanetary disks) as well as its challenges arising from recent observations of gas and warm dust in systems both young (few Myr) and old (few Gyr).

In-person attendance is limited to Caltech community members only, with a 74 person capacity limit in Hameerman Auditorium. Masks must be worn at all times.

To view this talk via YouTube, please visit :


For more information, please contact Jim Fuller by email at [email protected] or visit http://www.astro.caltech.edu/.