AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 24. Extrasolar Planets and Substellar Companions
Oral, Wednesday, January 12, 2000, 10:00-11:30am, Regency VI

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[24.06] Signatures of Exo-solar Planets in Circumstellar Dust Disks

L. Ozernoy (GMU & GSFC/NASA), N. Gorkavyi (NRC-NAS), J. Mather (GSFC/NASA), T. Taidakova (CCS)

Using a new numerical approach to the dynamics of minor bodies and dust particles, which enables us to increase, without using a supercomputer, the number of particle positions employed in each model up to 1010 -1011, a factor of 106-107 higher than existing numerical simulations. We apply this powerful approach to the high-resolution modeling of the structure and emission of circumstellar dust disks, incorporating all relevant physical processes. Here we examine the resonant structure of a dusty disk induced by the presence of one planet of mass in the range of (5\cdot 10-5 - 5\cdot 10-3)~ M\star. It is shown that the planet, via mean-motion resonances and gravitational scattering, produces a number of characteristic features which include a central cavity void of dust and an asymmetric resonant dust belt with one, two, or more clumps. The results of our study reveal a remarkable similarity with various types of highly asymmetric circumstellar disks observed with the JCMT around Epsilon Eridani and Vega. Using our modeling, we find that Vega may have a massive planet at a distance of 50-60 AU, and \epsilon Eri may have a less massive planet at a similar distance of 55-65 AU. This conclusion is testable: the above asymmetric feature is expected to revolve around the star with an angular velocity of 1.2-1.6 deg/year (Vega) and 0.6-0.8 deg/year (\epsilon Eri) -- a prediction that can be tested within several years. In sum, our modeling offers the ability to determine the major orbital parameters and masses of planets in dusty disks. As these disks are common, many planetary systems may be found. Moreover, since the dust disks are often so bright that they prevent direct detection of planets with imaging at visible, IR, or sub-mm wavelengths, our technique may actually be helpful in finding more planets than other methods do. It is well worth the efforts to develop the modeling and interpretation for observations already available or obtainable in the near future.

This work has been supported by NASA Grant NAG5-7065 to George Mason University. N.G. acknowledges the NRC-NAS associateship.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://science.gmu.edu/~ozernoy. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ozernoy@science.gmu.edu

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