Circumstellar disks are vast expanses of dust that form around new stars in the earliest stages of their birth. Predicted by astronomers as early as the eighteenth century, they weren’t observed until the late twentieth century, when interstellar imaging technology enabled us to see nascent stars hundreds of light years away. Since then, circumstellar disks have become an area of intense study among astrophysicists, largely because they are thought to be the forerunners of planetary systems like our own—the possible birthplaces of planets.
This volume brings together a team of leading experts to distill the most up-to-date knowledge of circumstellar disks into a clear introductory volume. Understanding circumstellar disks requires a broad range of scientific knowledge, including chemical processes, the properties of dust and gases, hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics, radiation transfer, and stellar evolution—all of which are covered in this comprehensive work, which will be indispensable for graduate students, seasoned researchers, or even advanced undergrads setting out on the study of planetary evolution.