Evolution of Star- and Planet-forming Regions – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

Evolution of Star- and Planet-forming Regions

Talk by Ewine F. van Dishoeck, Professor of Molecular Astrophysics, Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands

From Ice Cold to Steaming Hot


The earliest stages of star- and planet formation are obscured by tens to hundreds of magnitudes of extinction. Observations of the gas and dust at long wavelengths often provide the only way to obtain information on the physical and chemical processes that occur deep inside these regions.  In this talk, an overview of Spitzer and VLT spectroscopic observations of ices, silicates, PAHs and hot gases will be given. Spitzer has opened up the possibility to obtain high quality mid-infrared spectra for large numbers of low-mass protostars and disks around solar-mass pre-main sequence stars for the first time, whereas VLT-CRIRES and VISIR provide complementary high spatial and spectral resolution data.  The results will be analyzed using models of protostellar envelopes and (flaring) disks, including those with inner holes in which planets may have formed. The diagnostic values of the various lines and bands will be emphasized, and the importance of laboratory data to interpret them will be illustrated.  The prospects for future facilities, in particular the Herschel Space Observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, will be discussed.