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Cosmic Petrology: the composition of bodies in young solar systems and infrared spectroscopy of circumstellar dust and meteorites
Dust plays a central role in the study of young, forming planetary systems. In
a circumstellar disk, the first, primitive materials form from pristine gas
and dust particles. These are the building blocks for planetesimals forming by
accretion in later stages. During the following growth of planets from
collisions of these planetesimals in the debris disk stage, a second
generation of dust is produced. With the help of astronomical infrared
spectroscopy, it is possible to identify the mineralogical composition of the
dust in those young solar systems – and thus get information about the
composition of these bodies.
We have material available from the equivalent phase in our early Solar
System, 4.56 billion years ago, in the form of meteorites in our collections.
Using infrared laboratory analyses of these materials, it is possible to link
the detailed knowledge of meteorites available with the data from astronomical
I will present results from my work, which is about the comparisons of the
infrared spectra and data of planetary materials from our early Solar System,
and that from other, currently forming planetary systems. Earlier results of
this ongoing work show indeed similarities in the mineralogy of the two data
sets, which points towards a compositional similarity of bodies in our Solar
System and others.