Alan Watson: Research

My current research concerns two aspects of young stars: their circumstellar disks and the evolution of their angular momentum.

I have published 51 refereed research articles.

I received the Premio Scopus México 2011 for my “contribution to Mexican science in the area of physics, mathematics, and earth sciences”.

Disks Around Young Stars

The peculiar morphological variability in the disk of HH 30.

The goal of my research on the circumstellar disks around young stars is to determine the three-dimensional structure of the inner parts of these disks, in particular the hot wall where dust is destroyed and the effect of gas inward of this point. This region is important in the last step of the process of the transfer of mass from the disk onto the star.

This work is both theoretical and observational. I model the transfer of radiation emitted by the star and disk and its impact on the struture of the disk. I also obtain polarimetry and infrared spectroscopy to place observational constraints on these regions.

Angular Momentum in Young Stars

Part of the ρ Oph star-forming region.

My research on the angular momentum of young stars aims to extend our understanding to younger ages (less than 2 million years) and lower masses (down to brown dwarves). This basic information helps us understand the interaction between the disk and the star.

This work is largely observational. I determine the rotational periods of young stars by means of their photometric variability in the infrared.