Universiteit Leiden

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Dissertation

High-Contrast Imaging of Protoplanetary Disks

To study how planetary systems come into existence we study much younger systems still in formation.

Author
Boer, J. de
Date
10 January 2018
Links
Thesis in Leiden Repository

To study how planetary systems come into existence we study much younger systems still in formation. Gas and dust rich disks surrounding young stars are thought to be the precursors of planetary systems and therefore known as protoplanetary disks. In this thesis, I study large-scale structures in protoplanetary disks through high-contrast imaging of the scattering surfaces of these disks; and I calibrated two high-contrast imagers. To observe these disks at optical wavelengths, we need to take into account that the central star is much brighter than the (star)light reflected by the disk surface: i.e., high contrast between star and disk. Additionally, light coming from the star & disk is disturbed by the Earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, specialized high-contrast imaging instruments are required to correct for atmospheric disturbance of the stellar light in order to allow the highest possible spatial resolution and contrast between the star and its nearby surroundings. Improving our understanding of these high-contrast imagers will allow for a better interpretation of the data recorded with these instruments, while the interpretation of disk structures detected at high spatial resolution forms a crucial step in our understanding of the general principles that govern disk evolution and planet formation.

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