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: Herschel was launched on 14 May 2009, and is now an operational ESA space observatory offering unprecedented observational capabilities in the far-infrared and submillimetre spectral range 55-671 {\mu}m. Herschel carries a 3.5 metre diameter passively cooled Cassegrain telescope, which is the largest of its kind and utilises a novel silicon carbide technology. The science payload comprises three instruments: two direct detection cameras/medium resolution spectrometers, PACS and SPIRE, and a very high-resolution heterodyne spectrometer, HIFI, whose focal plane units are housed inside a superfluid helium cryostat. Herschel is an observatory facility operated in partnership among ESA, the instrument consortia, and NASA. The mission lifetime is determined by the cryostat hold time. Nominally approximately 20,000 hours will be available for astronomy, 32% is guaranteed time and the remainder is open to the worldwide general astronomical community through a standard competitive proposal procedure. Comment: 7 pages, 5 figures, 3 tables, accepted for the A&A Herschel Special Issue
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2010; · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Science. 11/2008; 322:1345-.
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    ABSTRACT: The Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE), is the Herschel Space Observatory`s submillimetre camera and spectrometer. It contains a three-band imaging photometer operating at 250, 350 and 500 microns, and an imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) which covers simultaneously its whole operating range of 194-671 microns (447-1550 GHz). The SPIRE detectors are arrays of feedhorn-coupled bolometers cooled to 0.3 K. The photometer has a field of view of 4' x 8', observed simultaneously in the three spectral bands. Its main operating mode is scan-mapping, whereby the field of view is scanned across the sky to achieve full spatial sampling and to cover large areas if desired. The spectrometer has an approximately circular field of view with a diameter of 2.6'. The spectral resolution can be adjusted between 1.2 and 25 GHz by changing the stroke length of the FTS scan mirror. Its main operating mode involves a fixed telescope pointing with multiple scans of the FTS mirror to acquire spectral data. For extended source measurements, multiple position offsets are implemented by means of an internal beam steering mirror to achieve the desired spatial sampling and by rastering of the telescope pointing to map areas larger than the field of view. The SPIRE instrument consists of a cold focal plane unit located inside the Herschel cryostat and warm electronics units, located on the spacecraft Service Module, for instrument control and data handling. Science data are transmitted to Earth with no on-board data compression, and processed by automatic pipelines to produce calibrated science products. The in-flight performance of the instrument matches or exceeds predictions based on pre-launch testing and modelling: the photometer sensitivity is comparable to or slightly better than estimated pre-launch, and the spectrometer sensitivity is also better by a factor of 1.5-2. Comment: Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophyics (Herschel first results special issue)
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2010; 518(L3). · 5.08 Impact Factor

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