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Baby Stars, X-rays, and Planets: How are they Related?

21 Feb 2020, 13:23 UTC
Baby Stars, X-rays, and Planets: How are they Related?
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Title: X-ray photodesorption from water ice in protoplanetary disks and X-ray dominated regionsAuthors: R. Dupuy, M. Bertin, G. Fèraud, M. Hassenfratz, X. Michaut, T. Putaud, L. Philippe, P. Jeseck, M. Angelucci, V. Baglin, C. Romanzin, and J. H. FillionFirst Author’s Institution: LERMA, Sorbonne Universitè, Observatoire de Paris, Universitè PSL, CNRS, Paris, FranceStatus: Published in Nature [closed access]
So, how are baby stars, X-rays, and planets related?Surprise, the answer is CHEMISTRY! Planet formation occurs in protoplanetary disks surrounded young baby stars, known as T-Tauri stars. These baby stars, quite like baby humans, are loud and tend to throw temper tantrums in the form of elevated levels of high energy radiation, such as X-rays. Stellar radiation directly impacts the physical disk structure and triggers chemical reactions in the disk through ionization, which causes the destruction of old molecules and formation of new molecules. This process directly impacts the materials available in the formation of planets.

Figure 1: From Dupuy et al. (2018) Figure 1. A “slice” of a protoplanetary disk. X-rays are able to penetrate the inner layers of the disk, while less energetic photons, such as UV photons, are absorbed along the disk surface. Note that cosmic rays are able ...

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