Cold dust around nearby stars (DUNES). First results: A resolved exo-Kuiper belt around the solar-like star zeta^2 Ret

Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present the first far-IR observations of the solar-type stars delta Pav, HR 8501, 51 Peg and zeta^2 Ret, taken within the context of the DUNES Herschel Open Time Key Programme (OTKP). This project uses the PACS and SPIRE instruments with the objective of studying infrared excesses due to exo-Kuiper belts around nearby solar-type stars. The observed 100 um fluxes from delta Pav, HR 8501, and 51 Peg agree with the predicted photospheric fluxes, excluding debris disks brighter than Ldust/Lstar ~ 5 x 10^-7 (1 sigma level) around those stars. A flattened, disk-like structure with a semi-major axis of ~ 100 AU in size is detected around zeta^2 Ret. The resolved structure suggests the presence of an eccentric dust ring, which we interpret as an exo-Kuiper belt with Ldust/Lstar ~ 10^-5. Comment: 5 pages, 2 figures

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    ABSTRACT: Context. About two dozen exo-solar debris systems have been spatially resolved. These debris discs commonly display a variety of structural features such as clumps, rings, belts, excentric distributions and spiral patterns. In most cases, these features are believed to be formed, shaped and maintained by the dynamical influence of planets orbiting the host stars. In very few cases has the presence of the dynamically important planet(s) been inferred from direct observation. Aims: The solar-type star q1 Eri is known to be surrounded by debris, extended on scales of ⪉30”. The star is also known to host at least one planet, albeit on an orbit far too small to make it responsible for structures at distances of tens to hundreds of AU. The aim of the present investigation is twofold: to determine the optical and material properties of the debris and to infer the spatial distribution of the dust, which may hint at the presence of additional planets. Methods: The Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) aboard the Herschel Space Observatory allows imaging observations in the far infrared at unprecedented resolution, i.e. at better than 6” to 12” over the wavelength range of 60 μm to 210 μm. Together with the results from ground-based observations, these spatially resolved data can be modelled to determine the nature of the debris and its evolution more reliably than what would be possible from unresolved data alone. Results: For the first time has the q1 Eri disc been resolved at far infrared wavelengths. The PACS observations at 70 μm, 100 μm and 160 μm reveal an oval image showing a disc-like structure in all bands, the size of which increases with wavelength. Assuming a circular shape yields the inclination of its equatorial plane with respect to that of the sky, i > 53°. The results of image de-convolution indicate that i likely is larger than 63°, where 90° corresponds to an edge-on disc. Conclusions: The observed emission is thermal and optically thin. The resolved data are consistent with debris at temperatures below 30 K at radii larger than 120 AU. From image de-convolution, we find that q1 Eri is surrounded by an about 40 AU wide ring at the radial distance of ~85 AU. This is the first real Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt analogue ever observed. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.

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May 27, 2014