Disks Lifetimes, Stellar Properties and Cluster Environments

Understanding the formation and lifetimes of circumstellar disks and how different conditions influence their development into planetary systems is one of the fundamental research problems in astrophysics.  We are studying disk fractions and stellar properties for large number of sources in embedded clusters. 

Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/P.S. Teixeira (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

Mariñas, N. et al. 2014, IAUS299, 165

Mariñas, N. et al. 2013, ApJ, 772, 81


High Resolution Mid-IR Imaging & Polarimetry of Herbig Ae/Be Stars

fig4ac copy

Herbig Ae/Be stars are very young stars of masses 2 -10 times the mass of the sun. Since they are very luminous, these stars can heat the dust in the disks around them to large distances, making the dust re-radiate in the mid-infrared wavelengths. For my PhD Thesis, we took mid-infrared images of 17 Herbig Ae/Be stars using the 8-meter Gemini North and South telescope and resolved many of these disks. We showed that the images of the resolved disks were consistent with large flaring disks around these sources.


Polarimetry of Herbig Ae/Be stars to investigate the magnetic field configuration and the disk structure in these sources. Dust grains in the vicinity of the sources tend to align with the magnetic field and the light we receive from the systems is polarized. By measuring the polarization in the region we can gain information about the magnetic field orientation and its relationship with the disk and the environment. 

Image Credit: GTC/Canaricam 10 micron image of AB Aurigae polarization vectors over polarized intensity. Telesco, C. M. Science Group.

Mariñas, N. et al. 2011, ApJ, 737, 57

Mariñas, N. PhD Thesis, 2007

Mariñas, N. et al. 2006, ApJ, 653, 1353

© marinas 2014