Disk Dispersal: Theoretical Understanding and Observational Constraints
Journal article, 2016
Protoplanetary disks dissipate rapidly after the central star forms, on time-scales comparable to those inferred for planet formation. In order to allow the formation of planets, disks must survive the dispersive effects of UV and X-ray photoevaporation for at least a few Myr. Viscous accretion depletes significant amounts of the mass in gas and solids, while photoevaporative flows driven by internal and external irradiation remove most of the gas. A reasonably large fraction of the mass in solids and some gas get incorporated into planets. Here, we review our current understanding of disk evolution and dispersal, and discuss how these might affect planet formation. We also discuss existing observational constraints on dispersal mechanisms and future directions.