An icy Kuiper belt around the young solar-type star HD 181327

J. Lebreton, J. C. Augereau, W. F. Thi, A. Roberge, J. Donaldson, G. Schneider, S. T. Maddison, F. Ménard, P. Riviere-Marichalar, G. S. Mathews, I. Kamp, C. Pinte, W. R.F. Dent, D. Barrado, G. Duchêne, J. F. Gonzalez, C. A. Grady, G. Meeus, E. Pantin, J. P. WilliamsP. Woitke

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86 Scopus citations


Context. HD 181327 is a young main sequence F5/F6 V star belonging to the β Pictoris moving group (age ∼12 Myr). It harbors an optically thin belt of circumstellar material at radius ∼90 AU, presumed to result from collisions in a population of unseen planetesimals. Aims. We aim to study the dust properties in the belt in details, and to constrain the gas-to-dust ratio. Methods. We obtained far-infrared photometric observations of HD 181327 with the PACS instrument onboard the Herschel Space Observatory*, complemented by new 3.2 mm observations carried with the ATCA** array. The geometry of the belt is constrained with newly reduced HST/NICMOS scattered light images that allow the degeneracy between the disk geometry and the dust properties to be broken. We then use the radiative transfer code GRaTeR to compute a large grid of models, and we identify the grain models that best reproduce the spectral energy distribution (SED) through a Bayesian analysis. We attempt to detect the oxygen and ionized carbon fine-structure lines with Herschel/PACS spectroscopy, providing observables to our photochemical code ProDiMo. Results. The HST observations confirm that the dust is confined in a narrow belt. The continuum is detected with Herschel/PACS completing nicely the SED in the far-infrared. The disk is marginally resolved with both PACS and ATCA. A medium integration of the gas spectral lines only provides upper limits on the [OI] and [CII] line fluxes. We show that the HD 181327 dust disk consists of micron-sized grains of porous amorphous silicates and carbonaceous material surrounded by an important layer of ice, for a total dust mass of ∼0.05 M (in grains up to 1 mm). We discuss evidences that the grains consists of fluffy aggregates. The upper limits on the gas atomic lines do not provide unambiguous constraints: only if the PAH abundance is high, the gas mass must be lower than ∼17 M +. Conclusions. Despite the weak constraints on the gas disk, the age of HD 181327 and the properties of the dust disk suggest that it has passed the stage of gaseous planets formation. The dust reveals a population of icy planetesimals, similar to the primitive Edgeworth-Kuiper belt, that may be a source for the future delivery of water and volatiles onto forming terrestrial planets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA17
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - 2012


  • circumstellar matter
  • infrared: planetary systems
  • radiative transfer
  • stars: individual:HD 181327

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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