The chemistry behind star and planet formation is extremely complex and important in the formation of habitable planets. Life requires molecules containing carbon, oxygen, and importantly, nitrogen. Hydrogen cyanide, or HCN, one of the main interstellar nitrogen carriers, is extremely dangerous here on Earth. However, it could be used as a vital tool for tracking the chemistry of potentially habitable planets. As we get closer to identifying other habitable planets, we must understand the beginnings of how those planets are formed in the early protoplanetary disk. This project investigates HCN chemistry in different locations in the disk, and what this might mean for forming planets at different distances from the star. HCN is a chemically diverse molecule. It is connected to the formation for other more complex molecules and is commonly used as a nitrogen tracer. Using computational chemical models we look at how the HCN abundance changes at different locations. We use realistic and physically motivated conditions for the gas in the protoplanetary disk: temperature, density, and radiation (UV flux). We analyze the reaction network, formation, and destruction of HCN molecules in the disk environment. The disk environment informs us about stability of habitable planets that are created based on HCN molecules. We reviewed and compared the difference in the molecules with a variety of locations in the disk and ultimately giving us a better understanding on how we view protoplanetary disks.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #231
- Pub Date:
- January 2018