Exocometary Science

Luca Matrà , CfA
Evidence for exocomets, icy bodies in extrasolar planetary systems, has rapidly increased over the past decade, giving rise to the budding field of exocometary science. Exocomets are detected through the gas and dust they release as they collide and grind down within their natal belts, or as they sublimate once scattered inwards to the regions closest to their host star. Most detections are in young, 10 to a few 100 Myr-old systems that are undergoing the final stages of terrestrial planet formation. This opens the exciting possibility to study exocomets at the epoch of volatile delivery to the inner regions of planetary systems.

In this talk, I will present the different lines of evidence for exocomets from UV to mm wavelengths. In particular, I will show how detection of molecular and atomic gas allows us to estimate molecular ice abundances and elemental abundances in young exocomets, enabling comparison with the Solar Nebula and Solar System comets. Finally, I will link the composition of exocometary belts to their origins in protoplanetary disks, discussing evidence for a preferential belt formation location which is dependent on the host star's luminosity.
Königstuhl Colloquium
3 May 2019, 15:00
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Level 3 Lecture Hall (301)

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