EXO-zodi modeling for the large binocular telescope interferometer

Grant M. Kennedy, Mark C. Wyatt, Vanessa Bailey, Geoffrey Bryden, William C. Danchi, Denis Defrère, Chris Haniff, Philip M. Hinz, Jérémy Lebreton, Bertrand Mennesson, Rafael Millan-Gabet, Farisa Morales, Olja Panić, George H. Rieke, Aki Roberge, Eugene Serabyn, Andrew Shannon, Andrew J. Skemer, Karl R. Stapelfeldt, Katherine Y.L. SuAlycia J. Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Habitable zone dust levels are a key unknown that must be understood to ensure the success of future space missions to image Earth analogs around nearby stars. Current detection limits are several orders of magnitude above the level of the solar system's zodiacal cloud, so characterization of the brightness distribution of exo-zodi down to much fainter levels is needed. To this end, the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) will detect thermal emission from habitable zone exo-zodi a few times brighter than solar system levels. Here we present a modeling framework for interpreting LBTI observations, which yields dust levels from detections and upper limits that are then converted into predictions and upper limits for the scattered light surface brightness. We apply this model to the HOSTS survey sample of nearby stars; assuming a null depth uncertainty of 10-4 the LBTI will be sensitive to dust a few times above the solar system level around Sun-like stars, and to even lower dust levels for more massive stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • circumstellar matter
  • instrumentation: interferometers
  • zodiacal dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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