We present infrared interferometric observations of the inner regions of two A-star debris disks, β Leo and ζ Lep,
using the FLUOR instrument at the CHARA interferometer on both short (30 m) and long (> 200 m) baselines.
For the target stars, the short-baseline visibilities are lower than expected for the stellar photosphere alone, while
those of a check star, δ Leo, are not. We interpret this visibility offset of a few percent as a near-infrared (NIR)
excess arising from dust grains which, due to the instrumental field of view, must be located within several AU of the central star. For β Leo, the NIR excess-producing grains are spatially distinct from the dust which produces
the previously known mid-infrared (MIR) excess. For ζ Lep, the NIR excess may be spatially associated with the MIR excess-producing material. We present simple geometric models which are consistent with the NIR and MIR excesses and show that for both objects, the NIR-producing material is most consistent with a thin ring of dust near the sublimation radius, with typical grain sizes smaller than the nominal radiation pressure blowout radius. Finally, we discuss possible origins of the NIR-emitting dust in the context of debris disk evolution models.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a Spitzer IRAC and MIPS survey of NGC 2451A and B, two open clusters in the 50-80 Myr age range. We complement these data with extensive ground-based photometry and spectroscopy to identify the cluster members in the Spitzer survey field. We find only two members with 8 μm excesses. The incidence of excesses at 24 μm is much higher, i.e., 11 of 31 solar-like stars and 1 of 7 early-type (A) stars. This work nearly completes the debris disk surveys with Spitzer of clusters in the 30-130 Myr range. This range is of interest because it is when large planetesimal collisions may have still been relatively common (as indicated by the one that led to the formation of the Moon during this period of the evolution of the solar system). We review the full set of surveys and find that there are only three possible cases out of about 250 roughly solar-mass stars where very large excesses suggest that such collisions have occurred recently.
Preview · Article · Jun 2009 · The Astrophysical Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most of the known debris discs exhibit cool dust in regions analogous to the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt. However, a rare subset show hot excess from within a few AU, which is often inferred to be transient. We examine 2 such sources to place limits on their location to help distinguish between different interpretations for their origin. We use MIDI on the VLTI to observe the debris discs around eta Corvi and HD69830 using baseline lengths from 44-130m. New VISIR observations of HD69830 at 18.7um are also presented. These observations are compared with disc models to place limits on disc size. The visibility functions measured with MIDI for both sources show significant variation with wavelength across 8-13um in a manner consistent with the disc flux being well resolved, notably with a dip at 10-11.5um due to the silicate emission feature. The average ratio of visibilities measured between 10-11.5um and 8-9um is 0.934+/-0.015 for HD69830 and 0.880+/-0.013 for eta Corvi over the 4 baselines for each source, a departure of 4 and 9sigma from that expected if the discs were unresolved. HD69830 is unresolved by VISIR at 18.7um. The combined limits from MIDI and 8m imaging constrain the warm dust to lie within 0.05-2.4AU for HD69830 and 0.16-2.98AU for eta Corvi. These results represent the first resolution in the mid-IR of dust around main sequence stars. The constraints placed on the location of the dust are consistent with radii predicted by SED modelling. Tentative evidence for a common position angle for the dust at 1.7AU with that at 150AU around eta Corvi, which might be expected if the hot dust is fed from the outer disc, demonstrates the potential of this technique for constraining the origin of the dust and more generally for the study of dust in the terrestrial regions of main sequence stars. Comment: Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The innermost parts of dusty debris disks around main sequence stars are currently poorly known due to the high contrast and small angular separation with their parent stars. Using near-infrared interferometry, we aim to detect the signature of hot dust around the nearby A4 V star Fomalhaut, which has already been suggested to harbor a warm dust population in addition to a cold dust ring located at about 140 AU. Archival data obtained with the VINCI instrument at the VLTI are used to study the fringe visibility of the Fomalhaut system at projected baseline lengths ranging from 4 m to 140 m in the K band. A significant visibility deficit is observed at short baselines with respect to the expected visibility of the sole stellar photosphere. This is interpreted as the signature of resolved circumstellar emission, producing a relative flux of 0.88% +/- 0.12% with respect to the stellar photosphere. While our interferometric data cannot directly constrain the morphology of the excess emission source, complementary data from the literature allow us to discard an off-axis point-like object as the source of circumstellar emission. We argue that the thermal emission from hot dusty grains located within 6 AU from Fomalhaut is the most plausible explanation for the detected excess. Our study also provides a revised limb-darkened diameter for Fomalhaut (2.223 +/- 0.022 mas), taking into account the effect of the resolved circumstellar emission. Comment: 13 pages, accepted for publication in ApJ
Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · The Astrophysical Journal