1st Announcement

December 2011 in star formation newsletter and exoplanet newsletter

Protostars and Planets VI
15 - 20 July 2013, Heidelberg Germany
Web-site: www.ppvi.org

The Protostars and Planets series for more than three decades has served the community with state of the art compilations of the current knowledge in the fields of star and planet formation. The previous volume PPV is based on the corresponding conference in 2005 in Hawaii. Since then, the field of protostars and planets has advanced tremendously, from a theoretical as well as observational point of view. To give a few examples:

Regarding observational studies of star formation, the launch of the Herschel Space Observatory opened up a new window to investigate the peak of the spectral energy distribution of young star-forming regions, and SOFIA will continue exploring that wavelength regime. While previous investigations about the initial conditions of star formation often relied on more indirect approaches, we can now study the onset of star formation and the associated physical/chemical processes in unprecedented detail.

The exoplanet searching and characterization has progressed enormously. More than 700 extra-solar planets have been detected, and thanks to the Kepler mission more and more super-earth like objects are among these planets. Having large samples is important for deriving statistical characteristics of exoplanets and exoplanetary systems, and since PPV the population synthesis models to explain these systems have also progressed dramatically. Furthermore, the field of transit spectroscopy rises to adulthood, and we start obtaining spectra from extrasolar planetary atmospheres.

As for the planetary birth places: The amount of observational data of protoplanetary disks has multiplied: large quantities of Spitzer data are already there and published, Herschel data are currently streaming in and the first results of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) are expected. Also our knowledge about the underlying disk physics e.g. the role of the turbulence driving mechanisms has revolutionized. Our better numerical simulations of disks in combination with radiation transport lead currently to a breakthrough in the migration problem of planets.

Also in our theoretical (in particular numeric) understanding of how planets form there has been tremendous progress since PPV. For instance, there has been a clear paradigm shift in how planetesimals are formed from cosmic dust: The new buzz words are "gravoturbulent planetesimal formation" and "particle growth in pressure traps". It is now feasible to engage in a multi-scale and multi-physics approach to modeling the birth of stars and planets. Furthermore, 3-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations combined with time-dependent chemistry and radiative transfer calculations allow for the self-consistent treatment of such diverse physical processes as molecular cloud formation in the turbulent multi-phase interstellar medium or studying the influence of ionizing feedback from the central high-mass star on the fragmentation and star-formation properties of the infalling envelope.

All in all it is high time for a new Protostars and Planets conference and a corresponding book. The Protostars and Planets conference will take place in Heidelberg, Germany, 15-20 July 2013. A call to the community for review chapters and their corresponding review talks will be posted in due time. The call will allow free suggestions of topics, but the SAC and the editors found it useful to compile a stawman's topic/chapter list as a guideline as to what we think the PPVI chapters might look like. This is by no means final. The list is:

Star Formation

Formation and evolution of protoplanetary disks

Planet formation and planetary systems

Astrophysical conditions for life

Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC):
Philippe Andre, Javier Ballesteros-Paredes, Isabelle Baraffe, Alan Boss, John Bradley, Nuria Calvet, Gael Chauvin, Therese Encrenaz, Guido Garay, Tristan Guillot, Nader Haghighipour, Shigeru Ida, Ray Jayawardhana, Willy Kley, Alexander Krot, Katharina Lodders, Karl Menten, Michael Meyer, Alessandro Morbidelli, Ralph Pudritz, Bo Reipurth, Dimitar Sasselov, Motohide Tamura, Ewine van Dishoeck, Stephane Udry, Alycia Weinberger

We are looking forward to seeing you in Heidelberg in July 2013!

Henrik Beuther, Ralf Klessen, Kees Dullemond, Thomas Henning