An observational study of circumstellar discs and planet formation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Central Lancashire
Department Name: Jeremiah Horrocks Institute


The student will begin by looking at ALMA archive data of circumstellar disks and planet-forming systems. She will then move on to studying new MERLIN data, on the PEBBLES program. She will then compare the data with existing VLA data. The goals will be to use of these data for comparison with theoretical models of planet formation, to look for evidence of grain growth and pebble formation. She will compare the gaps in the discs with the expectations and predictions of the models, to infer planetesimal growth and the potential for planet formation.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/R504695/1 01/01/2018 31/12/2021
1976309 Studentship ST/R504695/1 01/01/2018 29/06/2021 Raeesa Parker
Description PEBBLeS 
Organisation e-MERLIN
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project aims to study circumstellar discs around young stellar objects with the aim of detecting cm-sized grains of dust. Observations were made by the Principal Investigator of two objects; DG Tau A and DG Tau B. I have studied DG Tau B trying to determine if cm-sized grains are present in the disc surrounding the pre-stellar object. By looking at the emission from the disc at a number of wavelengths as well as in a number of directions, I was able to conclude that there is no cm-sized dust in the disc. If there is a disc containing pebble-sized grains of dust, it is completely dominated by the outflow of DG Tau B and unresolvable with the current technology at hand. This collaboration was joined when I was studying for my MSc. at the University of Central Lancashire and continued throughout my PhD.
Collaborator Contribution The other partners in this collaboration have studied the other observed pre-stellar object, DG Tau A. They performed a similar analysis to me, studying the emission from the disc surrounding the object at a number of different wavelengths and directions. Contrary to my findings, they were able to detect cm-sized grains of dust in the disc surrounding DG Tau A. Due to technical problems with the telescope, observations of other targets on the source list had to be delayed. They will only be made in 2020.
Impact There are currently no outputs from this collaboration although two papers are currently being written. One by myself on my work and one by my partners.
Start Year 2017