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Title: HERSCHEL's ''COLD DEBRIS DISKS'': BACKGROUND GALAXIES OR QUIESCENT RIMS OF PLANETARY SYSTEMS?

Infrared excesses associated with debris disk host stars detected so far peak at wavelengths around {approx}100 {mu}m or shorter. However, 6 out of 31 excess sources studied in the Herschel Open Time Key Programme, DUNES, have been seen to show significant-and in some cases extended-excess emission at 160 {mu}m, which is larger than the 100 {mu}m excess. This excess emission has been attributed to circumstellar dust and has been suggested to stem from debris disks colder than those known previously. Since the excess emission of the cold disk candidates is extremely weak, challenging even the unrivaled sensitivity of Herschel, it is prudent to carefully consider whether some or even all of them may represent unrelated galactic or extragalactic emission, or even instrumental noise. We re-address these issues using several distinct methods and conclude that it is highly unlikely that none of the candidates represents a true circumstellar disk. For true disks, both the dust temperatures inferred from the spectral energy distributions and the disk radii estimated from the images suggest that the dust is nearly as cold as a blackbody. This requires the grains to be larger than {approx}100 {mu}m, even if they are rich in ices or are composedmore » of any other material with a low absorption in the visible. The dearth of small grains is puzzling, since collisional models of debris disks predict that grains of all sizes down to several times the radiation pressure blowout limit should be present. We explore several conceivable scenarios: transport-dominated disks, disks of low dynamical excitation, and disks of unstirred primordial macroscopic grains. Our qualitative analysis and collisional simulations rule out the first two of these scenarios, but show the feasibility of the third one. We show that such disks can indeed survive for gigayears, largely preserving the primordial size distribution. They should be composed of macroscopic solids larger than millimeters, but smaller than a few kilometers in size. If larger planetesimals were present, then they would stir the disk, triggering a collisional cascade and thus causing production of small debris, which is not seen. Thus, planetesimal formation, at least in the outer regions of the systems, has stopped before 'cometary' or 'asteroidal' sizes were reached.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ; ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ; ; ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [12] ;  [13] more »; « less
  1. Astrophysikalisches Institut und Universitaetssternwarte, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena, Schillergaesschen 2-3, D-07745 Jena (Germany)
  2. Departamento de Fisica Teorica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, E-28049 Madrid (Spain)
  3. Departamento de Astrofisica, Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB, CSIC-INTA), ESAC Campus, P.O. Box 78, E-28691 Villanueva de la Canada, Madrid (Spain)
  4. Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica (INAOE), Apartado Postal 51 y 216, 72000 Puebla, Pue. (Mexico)
  5. Institut d'Astrophysique et de Geophysique, Universite de Liege, Allee du 6 Aout 17, B-4000 Liege (Belgium)
  6. NASA Herschel Science Center, California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  7. UJF-Grenoble 1/CNRS-INSU, Institut de Planetologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG), UMR 5274, F-38041 Grenoble (France)
  8. European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago (Chile)
  9. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States)
  10. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics, Code 667, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  11. Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, SE-43992, Onsala (Sweden)
  12. ESA-ESAC Gaia SOC, P.O. Box 78, E-28691 Villanueva de la Canada, Madrid (Spain)
  13. ESA Astrophysics and Fundamental Physics Missions Division, ESTEC/SRE-SA, Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22121889
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 772; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; BACKGROUND NOISE; BLOWOUTS; COSMIC DUST; EMISSION; ENERGY SPECTRA; EXCITATION; GALAXIES; ICE; IMAGES; PLANETS; RADIATION PRESSURE; RESONANCE IONIZATION MASS SPECTROSCOPY; SENSITIVITY; STARS; WAVELENGTHS