AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 17 Ae Be and Debris Disks: Searches Lead to High Angular Resolution Studies
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[17.09] MIPS Observations of the Fabulous Four Debris Disks

K. Y. L. Su, J. A. Stansberry, G. H. Rieke, D. E. Trilling (Steward Observatory), K. R. Stapelfeldt, M. W. Werner, C. Beichman, C. Chen (JPL/Caltech), M. Marengo, T. Megeath (CfA), D. Backman (NASA Ames), J. van Cleve (Ball Aero. Corp.)

The Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS) provides long-wavelength capability with imaging bands at 24, 70, and 160 um. We will present the MIPS images of the Fabulous Four Debris Disks: Beta Pictoris (A5 V), Epsilon Eridani (K2 V), Fomalhaut (A3 V) and Vega (A0 V). These systems discovered by IRAS possess large far-infrared excess emission above photosphere, indicating the existence of a circumstellar dusty disk. Given the main-sequence ages of these stars (~12 Myr for Beta Pictoris, ~730 Myr for Epsilon Eridani, ~200 Myr for Fomalhaut, and ~350 Myr for Vega), the dust in the systems could not be primordial as it would have been removed by radiation pressure and Poynting-Robertson drag on relatively short time scales (~1E4 yr). The second-generation dust in such debris disks is thought to arise primarily from collisions between planetesimals (asteroids) and from cometary activity; however, details about the debris formation and evolution are not well understood. With the sensitivity and angular resolution of the Spitizer Space Telescope, the structures of these nearby debris disks were mapped in great detail to study the disks' spatial structures at mid- to far-infrared wavelengths. These high spatial resolution images provide unprecedented new constraints on the the dust properties in the systems and limits on the origin of dusty debris.

Support for this work was provided by NASA through Contract Number 960785 issued by JPL/Caltech.

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