The Santa Cruz Astronomy Club hosts a free talk by Dr. Robert Knacke on "Circumstellar Disks Around Young Stars". How did the planets form? In the last 30 years, we have made progress on this ancient question through the study of gas and dust orbiting young stars - the stuff out of which planets formed. Extensive observations with ground based and space-based observatories, including Hubble and the Infrared Space Observatory, are showing us the planet-forming environments of young stars - their structure, what they are made of, how long they last, etc. Interesting and complex problems in planet formation, such as the roles of turbulence and magnetic fields, are still the objects of theoretical and observational research.
Dr. Roger Knacke is Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the Pennsylvania State University Erie, where he was the Director of the School of Science, retiring in 2010. He has also held visiting positions at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, NASA Ames, NASA Huntsville, and the University of California Santa Cruz. Dr. Knacke is the author or co-author of more than 100 papers in the fields of interstellar and circumstellar matter and planetary atmospheres. Asteroid 4312 was named “Knacke,” in recognition of contributions to the understanding of matter surrounding young stars. He now resides in Santa Cruz, California.
For location and more information, see http://astronomy.santa-cruz.ca.us/