New Discoveries in Planetary Systems and Star Formation through Advances in Laboratory Astrophysics

Brickhouse, Nancy; Cowan, John; Drake, Paul; Federman, Steven; Ferland, Gary; Frank, Adam; Herbst, Eric; Olive, Keith; Salama, Farid; Savin, Daniel Wolf; Ziurys, Lucy

As the panel on Planetary Systems and Star Formation (PSF) is fully aware, the next decade will see major advances in our understanding of these areas of research. To quote from their charge, these advances will occur in studies of solar system bodies (other than the Sun) and extrasolar planets, debris disks, exobiology, the formation of individual stars, protostellar and protoplanetary disks, molecular clouds and the cold ISM, dust, and astrochemistry. Central to the progress in these areas are the corresponding advances in laboratory astro- physics which are required for fully realizing the PSF scientific opportunities in the decade 2010-2020. Laboratory astrophysics comprises both theoretical and experimental studies of the underlying physics and chemistry which produce the observed spectra and describe the astrophysical processes. We discuss four areas of laboratory astrophysics relevant to the PSF panel: atomic, molecular, solid matter, and plasma physics. Section 2 describes some of the new opportunities and compelling themes which will be enabled by advances in laboratory astrophysics. Section 3 provides the scientific context for these opportunities. Section 4 discusses some experimental and theoretical advances in laboratory astrophysics required to realize the PSF scientific opportunities of the next decade. As requested in the Call for White Papers, we present in Section 5 four central questions and one area with unusual discovery potential. We give a short postlude in Section 6.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Astrophysics Laboratory
Published Here
May 5, 2017


White paper submitted by the AAS Working Group on Laboratory Astrophysics (WGLA) to the Planetary Systems and Star Formation (PSF) Science Frontiers Panel (SFP) of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2010)