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Debris disks from an astronomical and an astrobiological viewpoint
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy. (Stars, Planets and Astrobiology)
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this licentiate thesis, I consider debris disks from an observational, astronomical viewpoint, but also discuss a potential astrobiological application. Debris disks are essentially disks of dust and rocks around main-sequence stars, analogue to the Kuiper- or the asteroid belt in our solar system. Their observation and theoretical modeling can help to constrain planet formation models and help in the understanding of the history of the solar system. After a general introduction into the field of debris disks and some basic debris disk physics, the thesis concentrates on the observation of gas in debris disks. The possible origins of this gas and its dynamics are discussed and it is considered what it can tell us about the physical conditions in the disk and possibly about the dust composition. In this way, the paper associated with this thesis (dealing with the gas in the β Pic debris disk) is set into context. More in detail, we observed the CII emission originating from the carbon-rich β Pic disk with Herschel HIFI and attempted to constrain the spatial distribution of the gas from the shape of the emission line. This is necessary since the gas production mechanism is currently unknown, but can be constraint by obtaining information about the spatial profile of the gas. The last part of the thesis describes our preliminary studies of the possibility of a debris disk containing biomarkers, created by a giant impact on a life-bearing exoplanet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University , 2013. , 45 p.
Keyword [en]
debris disks, planetary systems, exoplanets, astrobiology, circumstellar matter, biomarker, biosignature, extraterrestrial life
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101234OAI: diva2:699977
2013-12-04, sal FB42, AlbaNova universitetscentrum, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-03-03 Created: 2014-03-03 Last updated: 2014-03-03Bibliographically approved

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