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[en] We have obtained a full suite of Spitzer observations to characterize the debris disk around HR 8799 and to explore how its properties are related to the recently discovered set of three massive planets orbiting the star. We distinguish three components to the debris system: (1) warm dust (T ∼ 150 K) orbiting within the innermost planet; (2) a broad zone of cold dust (T ∼ 45 K) with a sharp inner edge orbiting just outside the outermost planet and presumably sculpted by it; and (3) a dramatic halo of small grains originating in the cold dust component. The high level of dynamical activity implied by this halo may arise due to enhanced gravitational stirring by the massive planets. The relatively young age of HR 8799 places it in an important early stage of development and may provide some help in understanding the interaction of planets and planetary debris, an important process in the evolution of our own solar system.
[en] Using the Spitzer/Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) low-resolution modules covering wavelengths from 5 to 35 μm, we observed 52 main-sequence A and late B type stars previously seen using Spitzer/Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) to have excess infrared emission at 24 μm above that expected from the stellar photosphere. The mid-IR excess is confirmed in all cases but two. While prominent spectral features are not evident in any of the spectra, we observed a striking diversity in the overall shape of the spectral energy distributions. Most of the IRS excess spectra are consistent with single-temperature blackbody emission, suggestive of dust located at a single orbital radius-a narrow ring. Assuming the excess emission originates from a population of large blackbody grains, dust temperatures range from 70 to 324 K, with a median of 190 K corresponding to a distance of 10 AU. Thirteen stars however, have dust emission that follows a power-law distribution, F ν = F 0λα, with exponent α ranging from 1.0 to 2.9. The warm dust in these systems must span a greater range of orbital locations-an extended disk. All of the stars have also been observed with Spitzer/MIPS at 70 μm, with 27 of the 50 excess sources detected (signal-to-noise ratio > 3). Most 70 μm fluxes are suggestive of a cooler, Kuiper Belt-like component that may be completely independent of the asteroid belt-like warm emission detected at the IRS wavelengths. Fourteen of 37 sources with blackbody-like fits are detected at 70 μm. The 13 objects with IRS excess emission fit by a power-law disk model, however, are all detected at 70 μm (four above, three on, and six below the extrapolated power law), suggesting that the mid-IR IRS emission and far-IR 70 μm emission may be related for these sources. Overall, the observed blackbody and power-law thermal profiles reveal debris distributed in a wide variety of radial structures that do not appear to be correlated with spectral type or stellar age. An additional 43 fainter A and late B type stars without 70 μm photometry were also observed with Spitzer/IRS; results are summarized in Appendix B.
[en] We present H- and Ks-band imaging data resolving the gap in the transitional disk around LkCa 15, revealing the surrounding nebulosity. We detect sharp elliptical contours delimiting the nebulosity on the inside as well as the outside, consistent with the shape, size, ellipticity, and orientation of starlight reflected from the far-side disk wall, whereas the near-side wall is shielded from view by the disk's optically thick bulk. We note that forward scattering of starlight on the near-side disk surface could provide an alternate interpretation of the nebulosity. In either case, this discovery provides confirmation of the disk geometry that has been proposed to explain the spectral energy distributions of such systems, comprising an optically thick disk with an inner truncation radius of ∼46 AU enclosing a largely evacuated gap. Our data show an offset of the nebulosity contours along the major axis, likely corresponding to a physical pericenter offset of the disk gap. This reinforces the leading theory that dynamical clearing by at least one orbiting body is the cause of the gap. Based on evolutionary models, our high-contrast imagery imposes an upper limit of 21 MJup on companions at separations outside of 0.''1 and of 13 MJup outside of 0.''2. Thus, we find that a planetary system around LkCa 15 is the most likely explanation for the disk architecture.