Planet formation studies uniquely benefit from three disciplines: astronomical observations of extrasolar planet-forming disks, analysis of material from the early Solar System, and laboratory astrophysics experiments. Pre-planetary solids, fine dust, and chondritic components are central elements linking these studies. This book is the first comprehensive overview of planet formation, in which astronomers, cosmochemists, and laboratory astrophysicists jointly discuss the latest insights from the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, new interferometers, space missions including Stardust and Deep Impact, and laboratory techniques. Following the evolution of solids from their genesis through protoplanetary disks to rocky planets, the book discusses in detail how the latest results from these disciplines fit into a coherent picture. This volume provides a clear introduction and valuable reference for students and researchers in astronomy, cosmochemistry, laboratory astrophysics, and planetary sciences.
Daniel Apai is an Assistant Astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute. His research focuses on the observational characterization of the origins and properties of extrasolar planets and planetary systems. Dante Lauretta is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. His research interests include the chemistry and mineralogy of asteroids and comets as determined by in situ laboratory analysis and spacecraft observations.