Uma Gorti

Uma Gorti
Research Scientist
Curriculum Vitae: 

Uma Gorti joined the SETI Institute's Carl Sagan Center in 2008 as a Principal Investigator and is mainly interested in star and planet formation. She is currently working on understanding how planet-forming disks evolve, and is developing models that one day will be compared with future observations to be taken by the Herschel, SOFIA, JWST, ALMA and other telescopes. Such studies will help us understand the conditions under which planets form and the likelihood of planet formation, and hence life, in different star forming environments.

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Modeling the Diversity of Protoplanetary Disks

We propose a multiwavelength analysis of gaseous protoplanetary disks by modeling archival Spitzer, ISO and Herschel infrared line emission data using our gas disk thermo-chemical models. We will use archival infrared, optical, UV and X-ray data, supplemented with ground-based observational data from literature for a sample of 12 disks spanning a range of stellar masses, disk conditions and evolutionary epochs.

COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Understanding Protoplanetary Disk Winds and Planet Interactions via Disk Emission Lines

This collaborative research proposal will use an integrated approach that combines theory and observations to systematically study disk winds, evolution, and dispersal. We will analyze a unique dataset of high resolution optical and mid-infrared spectra for a sample of 55 disks around low and intermediate-mass stars at different stages of evolution. We will model the observed line emission fluxes and profiles using state-of-the-art thermochemical and 2-D hydrodynamical models for a sub-sample of disks, selected to represent various evolutionary epochs, to understand photoevaporative flows and to estimate resulting mass loss rates. Using hydrodynamical models to study the impact of planetary torques on disk structure, and thermochemical models to predict observable diagnostics, our study will distinguish rim emission due to photoevaporation from that due to planet-induced gaps and holes. This study will reveal the structure of the inner disk, calculate accretion rates, and probe emission characteristics when gas accretes past a planet. We will further seek new emission line diagnostics of photoevaporative winds and planet-disk interactions and make predictions for future observations using ALMA and other high resolution, high sensitivity facilities.

Disk Evolution, Dispersal and Planet Formation

We propose theoretical investigations of protoplanetary disk evolution and dispersal to study how the spatial and temporal distribution of gas and solids in disks affect their planet-forming potential. We will determine the properties of disks and host stars that are most favorable to the formation of planetary systems by conducting a parameter survey using our theoretical models. These will include stellar mass, stellar X-ray and UV luminosities, level of ionization in the disk, disk initial angular momentum, gas to dust mass ratio and dust physical and chemical properties.