The origin of pre-transition disks, disks around young stars that consist of an outer and an inner dust ring, have puzzled researchers for decades. The inner rings seem to live very long, even though scientists did not think this could be possible. Our recent paper, published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, proposes a solution to this puzzle: the outer ring constantly supplies the inner ring, but it does so without being seen: the material is transported in only few large grains that are not easily detected. Therefore the regions between the rings do appear to be empty. Once the dust particles have reached the hot inner regions close to the star, they loose the water ice that binds them together and consequently, they break up into many small pieces. It is these small pieces we see close to the star as a second, inner hot ring of dust. Our paper was featured on Astronomie.nl (Dutch).
In our recent Astrophysical Journal Letter, we suggested that not all gaps that are seen in protoplanetary disks need too be caused by planets, but that some of them could be due to some sort of "cosmic illusion". A press release for our letter was issued by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. It was also picked up by Astronomy Magazine, Discovery.com, Astronews.com (German), AstroBiology Magazine, and many others.
29/05/15 15:53 filed under: software
I updated my website design to modern, responsive HTML5. Amongst the changes are also blog comments which are now enabled. Feel free to use them to mention any issues you might have or to let me know what you think of the design.
Last week I was at the IAU Symposium 315 "Young Stars and Planets Near the Sun" in Atlanta, GA where I presented an invited review on "Grain Growth and Evolution from Primordial to Debris Disks". Talk slides will be on the meeting website shortly.