Journal of Undergraduate Research


planets, massive stars, solar system formation


Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Physics and Astronomy


During the formation stages of a solar system, huge clouds of gas and dust contract into a disk around the growing star. These disks are the birthplace of planets, and are essential to our understanding of solar system formation. Historically, the search for planets outside of our solar system has typically been constrained to stars that are similar to the sun. However, Herbig Ae/Be (HAe/Be) stars offer promising results. HAe/Be stars are 2-10 times larger than the sun and retain their formation disks. These disks around these stars are brighter and larger than those around solar type stars, so they are excellent candidates for observing planets. Observing planets around HAe/Be stars would allow us to place constraints on formation timescales and planetary masses, which are invaluable to our understanding of the solar system.