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Sub-millimeter images of a dusty Kuiper belt around eta Corvi

By SpaceRef Editor
July 9, 2005
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Astrophysics, abstract

From: Mark Wyatt [view email]
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2004 15:15:37 GMT (586kb)

Sub-millimeter images of a dusty Kuiper belt around eta Corvi

M. C. Wyatt,
J. S. Greaves,
W. R. F. Dent,
I. M. Coulson

Comments: 22 pages, 4 figures. Scheduled for publication in ApJ 10 February
2005 issue

Journal-ref: Astrophys.J. 620 (2005) 492-500

We present sub-millimeter and mid-infrared images of the circumstellar disk
around the nearby F2V star eta Corvi. The disk is resolved at 850um with a size
of ~100AU. At 450um the emission is found to be extended at all position
angles, with significant elongation along a position angle of 130+-10deg; at
the highest resolution (9.3") this emission is resolved into two peaks which
are to within the uncertainties offset symmetrically from the star at 100AU
projected separation. Modeling the appearance of emission from a narrow ring in
the sub-mm images shows the observed structure cannot be caused by an edge-on
or face-on axisymmetric ring; the observations are consistent with a ring of
radius 150+-20AU seen at 45+-25deg inclination. More face-on orientations are
possible if the dust distribution includes two clumps similar to Vega; we show
how such a clumpy structure could arise from the migration over 25Myr of a
Neptune mass planet from 80-105AU. The inner 100AU of the system appears
relatively empty of sub-mm emitting dust, indicating that this region may have
been cleared by the formation of planets, but the disk emission spectrum shows
that IRAS detected an additional hot component with a characteristic
temperature of 370+-60K (implying a distance of 1-2AU). At 11.9um we found the
emission to be unresolved with no background sources which could be
contaminating the fluxes measured by IRAS. The age of this star is estimated to
be ~1Gyr. It is very unusual for such an old main sequence star to exhibit
significant mid-IR emission. The proximity of this source makes it a perfect
candidate for further study from optical to mm wavelengths to determine the
distribution of its dust.

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