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Debris disks: Ours and theirs

Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Trilling (UA Steward Observatory)

The leftover debris from planet formation still exists in our Solar System as comets, asteroids, and Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs). These remnants from the era of planet formation can provide some of the best clues to the formation and early evolution of our planetary system. In the first part of my talk, I will present results from our recent large Hubble Space Telescope survey for very faint KBOs (Bernstein et al. 2004, in press) and discuss the implications for the evolution of the outer Solar System and its small bodies. In the second part of my talk I will extend what we understand about our Solar System's debris disk (and its derived dust) to debris disks around other stars by presenting recent observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope. I will conclude by demonstrating how an understanding of the small bodies of our Solar System may hold the key to unraveling the story of disks (and planetary systems?) around other stars.

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