Determining the amount of dust in the habitable zone: a Keck Nuller survey of 26 nearby main sequence stars


B. Mennesson




Because of contrast limitations at high angular resolution, direct observations of debris disks have so far been restricted to the outer (> 10AU) parts of nearby solar systems. The Keck Interferometer Nuller (KIN) was specifically designed to push this limit, and constrain exo-zodiacal emission originating from the "rocky planet forming region", i.e. from 0.1 AU to a few AUs. The characterization of exo-zodiacal light at these spatial scales is very revealing as it reflects the host system’s specific distribution of planets, dust sources and sinks. Strong exo-zodi emission in the habitable zone is also important to identify, as it can be a hindrance to direct imaging of Earth-like exoplanets. We discuss here the results of a Keck Nuller exo-zodi program targeting 26 nearby main sequence stars, most of which with no previously known infrared excess.

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s5 talk MennessonB.pdf
PDF, 1 Mb