Observations of main-sequence stars and limits on exozodical dust with nulling interferometry

Wilson M. Liu, Philip M. Hinz, William F. Hoffmann, Guido Brusa, Doug Miller, Matthew A. Kenworthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present nulling interferometric observations of six nearby main-sequence stars (α CrB, α Lyr, β Leo, γ Ser, ε Eri, and ζ Lep). None of the stars show evidence for a positive detection of warm debris in the habitable zone of the systems. Using a scaled up model of solar zodiacal emission, the 3σ upper limits on dust density range from 220 to 104 Zody (1 Zody = the density of our own solar zodiacal cloud) depending on the particular star, corresponding to mass limits of 10 -7 to 10-5 M of micron-sized dust. These limits contrast with the presence of dust at greater separations from the star, implying a clearing in dust in the inner system. This suggests that the inner circumstellar environment around nearby intermediate-mass main-sequence stars more than several tens of millions of years old are generally cleared of dusty debris. Finally, the well studied nature of the debris disks around Vega, ε Eridani, and ζ Leporis allows us to place these 10 μm nulling observations in the context of previous studies to determine the physical processes responsible for shaping the debris disk in these particular systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1500-1507
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume693
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2009

Keywords

  • circumstellar matter
  • instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • stars: individual (α CrB, α Lyr, β Leo, γ Ser, γ Eri, χ Lep)
  • techniques: interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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