Exozodiacal dust

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This artist’s view from an imagined planet around a nearby star shows the brilliant glow of exozodiacal light extending up into the sky and swamping the Milky Way.

Exozodiacal dust is 1-100 micrometre-sized grains of amorphous carbon and silicate dust that fill the plane of extrasolar planetary systems. It is the exoplanetary analog of zodiacal dust, the 1–100 micrometre-sized dust grains observed in the solar system, especially interior to the asteroid belt. As with the zodiacal dust, these grains are probably produced by outgassing comets, as well as by collisions among bigger parent bodies like asteroids. Exozodiacal dust clouds are often components of debris disks that are detected around main-sequence stars through their excess infrared emission. By convention, exozodiacal dust refers to the innermost and hottest part of these debris disks, within a few astronomical units of the star. The shapes of exozodiacal dust clouds can show the dynamical influence of extrasolar planets, and potentially indicate the presence of these planets.[1] Because it is often located near a star's habitable zone, exozodiacal dust can be an important noise source for attempts to image terrestrial planets. Around 1 in 100 stars in the nearby solar systems show a high content of warm dust that is around 1000 times greater than the average dust emission in the 8.5 - 12 μm range. [2]

Examples of stars with exozodiacal dust[edit]


  1. ^ Stark, C..; Kuchner, M. (2008). "The Detectability of Exo-Earths and Super-Earths Via Resonant Signatures in Exozodiacal Clouds". The Astrophysical Journal. 686 (1): 637–648. arXiv:0810.2702Freely accessible. Bibcode:2008ApJ...686..637S. doi:10.1086/591442. 
  2. ^ Roberge, Aki; Chen, Christine H.; Millan-Gabet, Rafael; Weinberger, Alycia J.; Hinz, Philip M.; Stapelfeldt, Karl R.; Absil, Olivier; Kuchner, Marc J.; Bryden, Geoffrey (2012-08-17). "The Exozodiacal Dust Problem for Direct Observations of Exo-Earths". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 124 (918): 799–808. doi:10.1086/667218. ISSN 1538-3873. 
  3. ^ Lebreton, J.; van Lieshout, R.; Augereau, J.-C.; Absil, O.; Mennesson, B.; Kama, M.; Dominik, C.; Bonsor, A.; Vandeportal, J.; Beust, H.; Defrère, D.; Ertel, S.; Faramaz, V.; Hinz, P.; Kral, Q.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Liu, W.; Thébault, P. (2013). "An interferometric study of the Fomalhaut inner debris disk. III. Detailed models of the exozodiacal disk and its origin". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 555. arXiv:1306.0956Freely accessible. Bibcode:2013A&A...555A.146L. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201321415. 
  4. ^ a b Absil, O.; Le Bouquin, J.-B.; Berger, J.-P.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Chauvin, G.; Lazareff, B.; Zins, G.; Haguenauer, P.; Jocou, L.; Kern, P.; Millan-Gabet, R.; Rochat, S.; Traub, W. (2011). "Searching for faint companions with VLTI/PIONIER. I. Method and first results". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 535. arXiv:1110.1178Freely accessible. Bibcode:2011A&A...535A..68A. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201117719. 
  5. ^ Ertel, S.; Absil, O.; Defrère, D.; Le Bouquin, J.-B.; Augereau, J.-C.; Marion, L.; Blind, N.; Bonsor, A.; Bryden, G.; Lebreton, J.; Milli, J. (2014). "A near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disk stars. IV. An unbiased sample of 92 southern stars observed in H band with VLTI/PIONIER". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 570: 20. arXiv:1409.6143Freely accessible. Bibcode:2014A&A...570A.128E. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201424438. A128. 

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