Astrophys. J., 734, 67 (2011/June-2)
Exozodiacal dust levels for nearby main-sequence stars: a survey with the Keck Interferometer Nuller.
MILLAN-GABET R., SERABYN E., MENNESSON B., TRAUB W.A., BARRY R.K., DANCHI W.C., KUCHNER M., STARK C.C., RAGLAND S., HRYNEVYCH M., WOILLEZ J., STAPELFELDT K., BRYDEN G., COLAVITA M.M. and BOOTH A.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
The Keck Interferometer Nuller (KIN) was used to survey 25 nearby main-sequence stars in the mid-infrared, in order to assess the prevalence of warm circumstellar (exozodiacal) dust around nearby solar-type stars. The KIN measures circumstellar emission by spatially blocking the star but transmitting the circumstellar flux in a region typically 0.1-4 AU from the star. We find one significant detection (η Crv), two marginal detections (γ Oph and α Aql), and 22 clear non-detections. Using a model of our own solar system's zodiacal cloud, scaled to the luminosity of each target star, we estimate the equivalent number of target zodis needed to match our observations. Our three zodi detections are η Crv (1250±260), γ Oph (200±80), and α Aql (600 ±200), where the uncertainties are 1σ. The 22 non-detected targets have an ensemble weighted average consistent with zero, with an average individual uncertainty of 160 zodis (1σ). These measurements represent the best limits to date on exozodi levels for a sample of nearby main-sequence stars. A statistical analysis of the population of 23 stars not previously known to contain circumstellar dust (excluding η Crv and γ Oph) suggests that, if the measurement errors are uncorrelated (for which we provide evidence) and if these 23 stars are representative of a single class with respect to the level of exozodi brightness, the mean exozodi level for the class is <150 zodis (3σ upper limit, corresponding to 99% confidence under the additional assumption that the measurement errors are Gaussian). We also demonstrate that this conclusion is largely independent of the shape and mean level of the (unknown) true underlying exozodi distribution.
circumstellar matter - techniques: high angular resolution - zodiacal dust
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<Available at CDS (J/ApJ/734/67): table1.dat table3.dat table4.dat>
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