The HOSTS Survey for Exozodiacal Dust: Observational Results from the Complete Survey

M. Stone J. M. Stone, S. Ertel, D. Defrere, P. Hinz, B. Mennesson, G. M. Kennedy, W. C. Danchi, C. Gelino, J. M. Hill, W. F. Hoffmann, J. Mazoyer, G. Rieke, A. Shannon, K. Stapelfeldt, E. Spalding, J. M. Stone, A. Vaz, A. J. Weinberger, P. Willems, O. AbsilP. Arbo, V. P. Bailey, C. Beichman, G. Bryden, E. C. Downey, O. Durney, S. Esposito, A. Gaspar, P. Grenz, C. A. Haniff, J. M. Leisenring, L. Marion, T. J. McMahon, R. Millan-Gabet, M. Montoya, K. M. Morzinski, S. Perera, E. Pinna, J. U. Pott, J. Power, A. Puglisi, A. Roberge, E. Serabyn, A. J. Skemer, K. Y.L. Su, V. Vaitheeswaran, M. C. Wyatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) enables nulling interferometric observations across the N band (8 to 13 μm) to suppress a star's bright light and probe for faint circumstellar emission. We present and statistically analyze the results from the LBTI/Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems survey for exozodiacal dust. By comparing our measurements to model predictions based on the solar zodiacal dust in the N band, we estimate a 1σ median sensitivity of 23 zodis times the solar system dust surface density in its habitable zone (HZ; 23 zodis) for early-type stars and 48 zodis for Sun-like stars, where 1 zodi is the surface density of HZ dust in the solar system. Of the 38 stars observed, 10 show significant excess. A clear correlation of our detections with the presence of cold dust in the systems was found, but none with the stellar spectral type or age. The majority of Sun-like stars have relatively low HZ dust levels (best-fit median: 3 zodis, 1σ upper limit: 9 zodis, 95% confidence: 27 zodis based on our N band measurements), while ∼20% are significantly more dusty. The solar system's HZ dust content is consistent with being typical. Our median HZ dust level would not be a major limitation to the direct imaging search for Earth-like exoplanets, but more precise constraints are still required, in particular to evaluate the impact of exozodiacal dust for the spectroscopic characterization of imaged exo-Earth candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberab7817
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume159
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    J. M. Stone, M. S., Ertel, S., Defrere, D., Hinz, P., Mennesson, B., Kennedy, G. M., Danchi, W. C., Gelino, C., Hill, J. M., Hoffmann, W. F., Mazoyer, J., Rieke, G., Shannon, A., Stapelfeldt, K., Spalding, E., Stone, J. M., Vaz, A., Weinberger, A. J., Willems, P., ... Wyatt, M. C. (2020). The HOSTS Survey for Exozodiacal Dust: Observational Results from the Complete Survey. Astronomical Journal, 159(4), [ab7817]. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/ab7817