AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 24 Protoplanetary Disks and the Brown Dwarf Desert
Oral, Monday, May 31, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, 601

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[24.05] Modeling the orientation and structure of the debris disk surrounding AU Mic (GJ 803)

P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley)

We use a three dimensional model of scattered light from an optically thin dust disk to constrain the orientation and structure of the AU Mic debris disk (Kalas et al. 2004). Fits to the projected midplane surface brightness between 60 and 160 AU radius correspond to a dust volume number density that varies radially as a power-law with index=-2.6. We also discuss the vertical disk profile, show possible evidence for asymmetry, and compare AU Mic's overall disk structure to that of beta Pic. The observed 6o wing-tilt between AU Mic's midplanes can be explained if the grain scattering phase function is non-isotropic and the disk is inclined to the line of sight. However, the sharpness of the midplane isophotes indicates that the disk is oriented no greater than 5o away from edge-on. AU Mic is therefore an excellent candidate for extrasolar planet detection via the transit method.

This work is supported by the NASA Origins Program (NAG5-11769) and the NSF Center for Adaptive Optics (AST-987683).

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