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Measuring Debris Disks’ True Sizes

24 Dec 2012, 18:25 UTC
Measuring Debris Disks’ True Sizes
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Resolved images of debris disks reveal their true sizes, and test the assumptions used in unCategories: Daily paper summariesTags: debris disk, observations, planet formation, survey(Click to read more...)

Title: Resolved Debris Discs Around A Stars in the Herschel DEBRIS Survey
Authors: Mark Booth, Grant Kennedy, Bruce Sibthorpe, Brenda C. Matthews, Mark C. Wyatt, Gaspard Duchêne, J. J. Kavelaars, David Rodriguez, Jane S. Greaves, Alice Koning, Laura Vican, George H. Rieke, Kate Y. L. Su, Amaya Moro-Martín, Paul Kalas
First Author’s Institution: University of Victoria, BC, Canada

Background: Debris disks, what are they good for?
Debris disks are rings of solid material surrounding stars. This material is leftover from earlier protoplanetary disks – more massive disks of gas and dust in which giant planets form. The particles comprising debris disks range from kilometer-size planetesimals to micron-size dust. Examples include the asteroid and Kuiper belts in the Solar System.
Astronomers use debris disks to search for hidden planets around other stars and to study the process of planet formation and evolution. Some stars have debris disks that are gravitationally shaped by giant planets. The well-studied debris disk around the star Fomalhaut shows signatures of shaping as well, although there is controversy as ...

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