Sirius B imaged in the mid-infrared: No evidence for a remnant planetary system

Andrew J. Skemer, Laird M. Close

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Evidence is building that remnants of solar systems might orbit a large percentage of white dwarfs, as the polluted atmospheres of DAZ and DBZ white dwarfs indicate the very recent accretion of metal-rich material. Some of these polluted white dwarfs are found to have large mid-infrared excesses from close-in debris disks that are thought to be reservoirs for the metal accretion. These systems are coined DAZd white dwarfs. Here we investigate the claims of Bonnet-Bidaud & Pantin that Sirius B, the nearest white dwarf to the Sun, might have an infrared excess from a dusty debris disk. Sirius B's companion, Sirius A, is commonly observed as a mid-infrared photometric standard in the Southern hemisphere. We combine several years of Gemini/T-ReCS photometric standard observations to produce deep mid-infrared imaging in five ∼10 μm filters (broad N + four narrow band), which reveal the presence of Sirius B. Our photometry is consistent with the expected photospheric emission such that we constrain any mid-infrared excess to ≲10% of the photosphere. Thus, we conclude that Sirius B does not have a large dusty disk, as seen in DAZd white dwarfs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2011


  • binaries: visual
  • circumstellar matter
  • infrared: stars
  • methods: observational
  • white dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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