WYATT M.C., SMITH R., GREAVES J.S., BEICHMAN C.A., BRYDEN G. and LISSE C.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
In this paper a simple model for the steady state evolution of debris disks due to collisions is developed and confronted with the properties of the emerging population of seven Sun-like stars that have hot dust at <10 AU. The model shows that there is a maximum possible disk mass at a given age, since more massive primordial disks process their mass faster. The corresponding maximum dust luminosity is fmax=0.16x10–3r7/3t–1age, where r is disk radius in AU and tageis system age in Myr. The majority (4/7) of the hot disks exceed this limit by ≫1000 and so cannot be the products of massive asteroid belts; rather, the following systems must be undergoing transient events characterized by an unusually high dust content near the star: η Corvi, HD 69830, HD 72905, and BD +20 307. It is also shown that the hot dust cannot originate in a recent collision in an asteroid belt, since there is also a maximum rate at which collisions of sufficient magnitude to reproduce a given dust luminosity can occur. The planetesimal belt feeding the dust in these systems must be located farther from the star than the dust, typically at ≫2 AU. Other notable properties of the four hot dust systems are as follows: two also have a planetesimal belt at >10 AU (η Corvi and HD 72905); one has three Neptune mass planets at <1 AU (HD 69830); all exhibit strong mid-IR silicate features. We consider the most likely origin for this transient dust to be a dynamical instability that scattered planetesimals inward from a more distant planetesimal belt in an event akin to the late heavy bombardment in our own system, the dust being released from such planetesimals in collisions and sublimation.