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Circumstellar Matter


As part of the Gemini Planet Imager team, Prof. Michael Fitzgerald plans to use a specially constructed infrared camera and the Gemini South Telescope to image circumstellar disks around young star systems.  By studying the size and position of the disks, he hopes to determine the dynamical properties of the systems and learn more about planet formation.

Directly imaging circumstellar disks around a distant star isn’t the only way to learn about them – by routing the incoming light through a series of filters, scientists are able to get information about the composition of circumstellar material.  Prof. Benjamin Zuckerman, whose studies focus on the evolution of planetary systems, works to identify the type of molecules present in the circumstellar disks around young stars.  Prof. Michael Jura studies the light from “polluted” white dwarf stars to determine the composition of asteroids or other bits of circumstellar matter that have fallen into the star’s atmosphere and been absorbed.


fitzgerald jura zuckerman
 Michael Fitzgerald Michael Jura Benjamin Zuckerman

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Recent Publications

Jura, M. and Xu, S. (2013). Extrasolar Refractory-dominated Planetesimals: An Assessment. The Astronomical Journal, 145(2), 30.

Xu, S., Jura, M., Klein, B., Koester, D., et al. (Zuckerman, B.) (2013).  Two Beyond-primitive Extrasolar Planetesimals.  The Astrophysical Journal, 766(2), 132.