UC Santa Cruz
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Understanding how planets form requires direct observations of protoplanets themselves. Transition disks, protoplanetary disks with inner clearings that may be shaped by forming planets, are the most promising targets for these studies. While protoplanets are expected to have low infrared contrasts compared to mature exoplanets, the large distances to most transition disks necessitate novel techniques even beyond coronagraphy to make these detections. Non-redundant masking (NRM), which transforms a conventional telescope into an interferometric array, is well posed to detect protoplanets in transition disk clearings. I will present the results of NRM observations of transition disks, as well as strategies for distinguishing accreting protoplanets from light scattered by disk material. I will also discuss potential applications of NRM and related interferometric techniques on next generation facilities.