Observations of Circumstellar Disks
This review presents recent results on protoplanetary disks obtained from angularly resolved observations. Observations with mm arrays show that disks are in Keplerian rotation, with radius as large as 1000 AU. Optical images show disks to be flared. Both type of observations imply the dust in disk has evolved and grown from interstellar dust. Measurement of the gas temperature from CO isotopes indicate temperature gradient, consistent with the disk flaring and heating by the central star. Disks which appear to have started to dissipate their initial gas content have also been discovered, but their very diverse aspects leaves the dissipation process unclear. Current data mostly concern the outer disk (>50 AU), although near-IR interferometry has started to unveil the innermost regions (<1 AU). The next generation of instruments (MIDI on VLTI, ALMA) will allow to probe the intermediate regime, where planet formation is expected to occur.
Keywordsstar formation planetary formation proto-planetary disks observations
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