A Multiwavelength, Quantitative Analysis of Morphology in Resolved Planet-Forming Disks

Catherine Sarosi, Katherine Follette, William Balmer, Beck Dacus, Alexander DelFranco

High-resolution imagery of planet-forming disks has revealed the presence of a variety of morphological features, including rings, spirals, arcs, and shadows. These substructures, which appear at different rates and on different scales in the dust and gas components of the disk, are thought to form as the disk evolves. They are driven by host star and disk properties, as well as disk-planet interactions. Extensive previous work has examined the substructures of individual objects in each of the three primary tracers of disk structure (sub-mm continuum, optical and NIR scattered light, and molecular line emission) or multiple disks in a single tracer; however, relatively little work has been done to compare substructures across all three tracers for a large sample of objects. This approach offers the potential to improve our understanding of the correspondence between substructures observed at different wavelengths and observationally test theorized drivers of substructure formation. To develop a clearer picture of morphology in resolved planet-forming disks, I have assembled a large sample of disks with available high-resolution millimeter and submillimeter continuum, molecular line, and NIR scattered light archival imagery. I present a database that combines this archival imagery with published data on the host system, disk, and proposed planetary candidates as well as a GUI that allows for exploration of the compiled archival data. To facilitate the comparison of morphology across wavelengths and classifications, I propose a quantitative framework for characterizing the type, location, and extent of morphologies using radial and azimuthal intensity profiles. The findings of this large-sample, quantitative analysis can provide unique insights into the structure of planet-forming disks and in turn, improve our understanding of the environments in which planets form.