Star and Planet Formation Conference
Astronomers at the Protostars and Planets Conference discuss some of the many poster papers presented at the conference. Photo by Bo Reipurth.
"Protostars and Planets V" (PPV), the biggest astronomy conference
ever held in the Hawaiian Islands, took place during the week of October
24–-28, 2005, at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort. PPV attracted 805 participants
from 30 countries. Organized by IfA's Bo Reipurth and David Jewitt, and
Klaus Keil from the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology,
this conference brought together astronomers, planetary scientists, and
scientists who study meteorites.
Every year, many smaller meetings cover more specialized topics, but the
Protostars and Planets conferences, held every seven years since 1978,
are unique in their wide-ranging perspective and in their strong emphasis
on cross-disciplinary research. They facilitate the interactions between
those who study star formation and those who study the origin of the solar
system. The 2005 conference participants were able to hear 58 talks and
view over 600 posters that presented the latest information
about the formation of stars and brown dwarfs, the swirling dusty disks
out of which planets condense, the ever-increasing number of known extrasolar
planets, and comets and the other small bodies left over from the formation
of our solar system.
The field of star and planet formation is now going through a period of
rapid advances driven largely by the development of sophisticated observing
techniques. PPV was notable for the presentation of new results about extrasolar
planetary systems. So many of them have been found that scientists are
beginning to be able to compare the architectures of the different systems
with our solar system. Also, new results from interferometers (two or more
telescopes connected to operate as a single larger telescope) such as the
Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea have provided amazing new insights into
the environments of newborn stars.