Debris Disk Evolution around A Stars

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.28). 12/2008; 653(1):675. DOI: 10.1086/508649
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We report 24 and/or 70 μm measurements of ~160 A-type main-sequence stars using the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS). Their ages range from 5 to 850 Myr, based on estimates from the literature (cluster or moving group associations) or from the H-R diagram and isochrones. The thermal infrared excess is identified by comparing the deviation (~3% and ~15% at the 1 σ level at 24 and 70 μm, respectively) between the measurements and the synthetic Kurucz photospheric predictions. Stars showing excess infrared emission due to strong emission lines or extended nebulosity seen at 24 μm are excluded from our sample; therefore, the remaining infrared excesses are likely to arise from circumstellar debris disks. At the 3 σ confidence level, the excess rate at 24 and 70 μm is 32% and ≥33% (with an uncertainty of 5%), considerably higher than what has been found for old solar analogs and M dwarfs. Our measurements place constraints on the fractional dust luminosities and temperatures in the disks. We find that older stars tend to have lower fractional dust luminosity than younger ones. While the fractional luminosity from the excess infrared emission follows a general 1/t relationship, the values at a given stellar age vary by at least 2 orders of magnitude. We also find that (1) older stars possess a narrow range of temperature distribution peaking at colder temperatures, and (2) the disk emission at 70 μm persists longer than that at 24 μm. Both results suggest that the debris disk clearing process is more effective in the inner regions.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Herschel DEBRIS (Disc Emission via a Bias-free Reconnaissance in the Infrared/Submillimetre) survey brings us a unique perspective on the study of debris discs around main-sequence A-type stars. Bias-free by design, the survey offers a remarkable data set with which to investigate the cold disc properties. The statistical analysis of the 100 and 160 μm data for 86 main-sequence A stars yields a lower than previously found debris disc rate. Considering better than 3σ excess sources, we find a detection rate ≥24 ± 5 per cent at 100 μm which is similar to the debris disc rate around main-sequence F/G/K-spectral type stars. While the 100 and 160 μm excesses slowly decline with time, debris discs with large excesses are found around some of the oldest A stars in our sample, evidence that the debris phenomenon can survive throughout the length of the main sequence (̃1 Gyr). Debris discs are predominantly detected around the youngest and hottest stars in our sample. Stellar properties such as metallicity are found to have no effect on the debris disc incidence. Debris discs are found around A stars in single systems and multiple systems at similar rates. While tight and wide binaries (<1 and >100 au, respectively) host debris discs with a similar frequency and global properties, no intermediate separation debris systems were detected in our sample.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2014; 445(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu1864 · 5.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Context. Detecting and characterizing circumstellar dust is a way to study the architecture and evolution of planetary systems. Cold dust in debris disks only traces the outer regions. Warm and hot exozodiacal dust needs to be studied in order to trace regions close to the habitable zone. Aims. We aim to determine the prevalence and to constrain the properties of hot exozodiacal dust around nearby main-sequence stars. Methods. We search a magnitude limited (H < 5) sample of 92 stars for bright exozodiacal dust using our VLTI visitor instrument PIONIER in the H-band. We derive statistics of the detection rate with respect to parameters such as the stellar spectral type and age or the presence of a debris disk in the outer regions of the systems. We derive more robust statistics by combining our sample with the results from our CHARA/FLUOR survey in the K-band. In addition, our spectrally dispersed data allows us to put constraints on the emission mechanism and the dust properties in the detected systems. Results. We find an over-all detection rate of bright exozodiacal dust in the H-band of 11% (9 out of 85 targets) and three tentative detections. The detection rate decreases from early type to late type stars and increases with the age of the host star. We do not confirm the tentative correlation between the presence of cold and hot dust found in our earlier analysis of the FLUOR sample alone. Our spectrally dispersed data suggest that either the dust is extremely hot or the emission is dominated by the scattered light in most cases. The implications of our results for the target selection of future terrestrial planet finding missions using direct imaging are discussed.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2014; 570. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424438 · 4.48 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Exozodi survey aims to determine the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal discs around nearby main sequence stars using infrared interferometry. Although the Exozodi survey targets have been carefully selected to avoid the presence of binary stars, the results of this survey can still be biased by the presence of unidentified stellar companions. Using the PIONIER data set collected within the Exozodi survey, we aim to search for the signature of point-like companions around the Exozodi target stars. We use both the closure phases and squared visibilities collected by PIONIER to search for companions within the ~100 mas interferometric field of view. The presence of a companion is assessed by computing the goodness of fit to the data for a series of binary models with various separations and contrasts. Five stellar companions are resolved for the first time around five A-type stars: HD 4150, HD 16555, HD 29388, HD 202730, and HD 224392 (although the companion to HD 16555 was independently resolved by speckle interferometry while we were carrying out the survey). In the most likely case of main sequence companions, their spectral types range from A5V to K4V. Three of these stars were already suspected to be binaries from Hipparcos astrometric measurements, although no information was available on the companions themselves so far. In addition to debiasing the statistics of the Exozodi survey, these results can also be used to revise the fraction of visual binaries among A-type stars, suggesting that an extra ~13% A-type stars are visual binaries in addition to the ones detected in previous direct imaging surveys. We estimate that about half the population of nearby A-type stars could be resolved as visual binaries using a combination of state-of-the-art interferometry and single-aperture imaging, and we suggest that a significant fraction of these binaries remains undetected to date.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2014; 570. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424780 · 4.48 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 10, 2014