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Session 47 - Circumstellar Disks & Shells.
Display session, Thursday, January 08
The detection of candidate proto-planetary systems provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore the origin of our Solar System. \beta Pictoris is an A5 IV--V star surrounded by an optically-detectable dust disk and a very dynamic circumstellar gas environment. We are studying the circumstellar gas and dust properties of \beta Pic and other nearby A stars. Using the IRAS database, we searched for circumstellar dust around all 62 A stars within 25 pc of the Sun. We then obtained high-resolution (>100,000) Ca II K and Na I D spectra to look for evidence of circumstellar gas, using the McMath-Pierce telescope at Kitt Peak for the 42 northern nearby A stars and the 1.5 m telescope at Cerro-Tololo for the 20 southern-hemisphere targets. We detected narrow absorption lines implying the presence of circumstellar gas around at least 12 of these 62 stars. We have been monitoring these 12 stars with higher spectral resolution (>200,000) using the 2.7 m telescope at McDonald Observatory and the 1.9 m telescope at Mt. Stromlo Observatory. At least 4 of these 12 stars have variable circumstellar absorption lines, similar to \beta Pic.
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