Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: An ALMA Survey of H2CO in Protoplanetary Disks
Authors: Jamila Pegues, Karin Oberg, J. Bergner et al.
First Author’s Institution: Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Status: Published in ApJ
Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV. What do all of these have in common? They are complex organisms or objects which are made of organic molecules. If we want to understand the origins of such earthly things, we need to understand how and where they form within protoplanetary disks. H2CO, or formaldehyde, is one of the most abundant organic molecules in the universe, and it can serve as a precursor to more complex organic molecules. Observing the location at which H2CO resides within a disk will provide insight into its formation, and thus the protoplanetary disk’s ability to form more complex molecules. Today’s paper surveys 15 protoplanetary disks looking at multiple H2CO lines. The authors seek to uncover the temperature, density, ...