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Session 111 - Pulsars.
Display session, Saturday, January 10
We have used the new submillimetre camera (SCUBA) at the JCMT to search for dusty disks around nearby millisecond pulsars. Such disks are expected to be the precursors of planets, such as those detected by Wolszczan amp; Frail around B1257+12. No dust emission was detected in our sample, which is 60% complete for millisecond pulsars within 1 kpc of the Sun (and includes B1257+12). The upper limits on dust masses are only a few Earth masses, assuming large grains, or somewhat higher masses are obtained if the grains are very small. In either case, planetesimals and Earth-mass planets are unlikely to be forming at the present time. An alternative is that rocky planets form rapidly in these systems - the (non)detection rate would imply the process takes less than 3 x 10 years.
Program listing for Saturday