Planets form from the cold molecular disks surrounding Myr-old stars. These stars are energetically active in their youth, emitting high fluxes of UV and X-ray photons along with energetic particles. Nearby stars in the cluster may also provide external UV, enhanced cosmic rays, and radioactive pollutants. These energetic processes shape how planets form and their compositions, especially organic and water content. Using sensitive radio observations of molecular ions, we can “map out” the energetic environment of the disk. So far, this experiment has only been possible for the closest young star; however, now with the ALMA telescope array it is possible to study these processes across galactic environment, host star properties, and time. This program aims to identify both the driving forces and the possible outcomes (i.e., disk compositions, especially water) to shed light on the planet-forming potential of disks.

Awards and Achievements

  • Annie Jump Cannon Award ( 2018)
  • American Astronomical Society