Cee Gould Rose Hills
HST/WFC3 Imaging and Multi-Wavelength Characterization of Edge-On Protoplanetary Disks
This summer, I will be conducting research on an astronomy project involving the data reduction and analytical characterization of several Hubble images of edge-on protoplanetary disks (dust around newly formed stars). This is a topic of interest since the study of pre-planetary systems lends clues to the still unsolved mysteries of the formation of planetary bodies, as well as life in the universe.
Comparing high-resolution scattered light images of edge-on diskswith synthetic images from radiative transfer modeling is a powerfulapproach to constrain the disk mass, structure and dust content. By the end of the summer, I will have produced color maps across the visible band to identify and characterize wavelength-dependent properties of these disks. In turn, these will allow us to differentiate features that are related to the dust properties (opacity, scattering phase function) from those tracing the physical structure of the disk (in particular its vertical density profile). By probing a diverse set of disks with a uniform approach, we will be able to probe possible signs of evolution in this critical stage of planet formation.