Astrophys. J., 701, 2019-2032 (2009/August-3)
Abundant circumstellar silica dust and SiO gas created by a giant hypervelocity collision in the ∼12 myr HD172555 system.
LISSE C.M., CHEN C.H., WYATT M.C., MORLOK A., SONG I., BRYDEN G. and SHEEHAN P.
Abstract (from CDS):
The fine dust detected by infrared (IR) emission around the nearby β Pic analog star HD172555 is very peculiar. The dust mineralogy is composed primarily of highly refractory, nonequilibrium materials, with approximately three quarters of the Si atoms in silica (SiO2) species. Tektite and obsidian lab thermal emission spectra (nonequilibrium glassy silicas found in impact and magmatic systems) are required to fit the data. The best-fit model size distribution for the observed fine dust is dn/da = a –3.95±0.10. While IR photometry of the system has stayed stable since the 1983 IRAS mission, this steep a size distribution, with abundant micron-sized particles, argues for a fresh source of material within the last 0.1 Myr. The location of the dust with respect to the star is at 5.8±0.6 AU (equivalent to 1.9±0.2 AU from the Sun), within the terrestrial planet formation region but at the outer edge of any possible terrestrial habitability zone. The mass of fine dust is 4x1019-2x1020 kg, equivalent to a 150-200 km radius asteroid. Significant emission features centered at 4 and 8 µm due to fluorescing SiO gas are also found. Roughly 1022 kg of SiO gas, formed by vaporizing silicate rock, is also present in the system, and a separate population of very large, cool grains, massing 1021-1022 kg and equivalent to the largest sized asteroid currently found in the solar system's main asteroid belt, dominates the solid circumstellar material by mass. The makeup of the observed dust and gas, and the noted lack of a dense circumstellar gas disk, strong stellar X-ray activity, and an extended disk of β meteoroids argues that the source of the observed circumstellar materials is a giant hypervelocity (>10 km/s) impact between large rocky planetesimals, similar to the ones which formed the Moon and which stripped the surface crustal material off of Mercury's surface.
astrochemistry - infrared: stars - planetary systems: formation - planetary systems: protoplanetary disks - radiation mechanisms: thermal - techniques: spectroscopic
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