Resolved debris discs around a stars in the herschel DEBRIS survey

Mark Booth, Grant Kennedy, Bruce Sibthorpe, Brenda C. Matthews, Mark C. Wyatt, Gaspard Ducĥene, J. J. Kavelaars, David Rodriguez, Jane S. Greaves, Alice Koning, Laura Vican, George H. Rieke, Kate Y.L. Su, Amaya Moro-Mart́in, Paul Kalas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


The majority of debris discs discovered so far have only been detected through infrared excess emission above stellar photospheres. While disc properties can be inferred from unresolved photometry alone under various assumptions for the physical properties of dust grains, there is a degeneracy between disc radius and dust temperature that depends on the grain size distribution and optical properties. By resolving the disc we can measure the actual location of the dust. The launch of Herschel, with an angular resolution superior to previous far-infrared telescopes, allows us to spatially resolve more discs and locate the dust directly. Here we present the nine resolved discs around A stars between 20 and 40 pc observed by the Disc Emission via a Bias-free Reconnaissance in the Infrared/Submillimetre (DEBRIS) survey. We use these data to investigate the disc radii by fitting narrowringmodels to images at 70, 100 and 160μm and by fitting blackbodies to full spectral energy distributions. We do this with the aim of finding an improved way of estimating disc radii for unresolved systems. The ratio between the resolved and blackbody radii varies between 1 and 2.5. This ratio is inversely correlated with luminosity and any remaining discrepancies are most likely explained by differences to the minimum size of grain in the size distribution or differences in composition. We find that three of the systems are well fit by a narrow ring, two systems are borderline cases and the other four likely require wider or multiple rings to fully explain the observations, reflecting the diversity of planetary systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1280
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • 30 mon; bTri
  • Circumstellar matter
  • Infrared: stars.
  • Planetary Systems
  • Stars: individual: a crb; buma
  • lBoo
  • x Eri; g tri; Ρ vir
  • Îpav

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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