The HOSTS Survey - Exozodiacal Dust Measurements for 30 Stars

S. Ertel, D. Defrère, P. Hinz, B. Mennesson, G. M. Kennedy, W. C. Danchi, C. Gelino, J. M. Hill, W. F. Hoffmann, G. Rieke, A. Shannon, E. Spalding, J. M. Stone, A. Vaz, A. J. Weinberger, P. Willems, O. Absil, P. Arbo, V. P. Bailey, C. BeichmanG. Bryden, E. C. Downey, O. Durney, S. Esposito, A. Gaspar, P. Grenz, C. A. Haniff, J. M. Leisenring, L. Marion, T. J. McMahon, R. Millan-Gabet, M. Montoya, K. M. Morzinski, E. Pinna, J. Power, A. Puglisi, A. Roberge, E. Serabyn, A. J. Skemer, K. Stapelfeldt, K. Y.L. Su, V. Vaitheeswaran, M. C. Wyatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems survey searches for dust near the habitable zones (HZs) around nearby, bright main-sequence stars. We use nulling interferometry in the N band to suppress the bright stellar light and to probe for low levels of HZ dust around the 30 stars observed so far. Our overall detection rate is 18%, including four new detections, among which are the first three around Sun-like stars and the first two around stars without any previously known circumstellar dust. The inferred occurrence rates are comparable for early-type and Sun-like stars, but decrease from % for stars with previously detected cold dust to % for stars without such excess, confirming earlier results at higher sensitivity. For completed observations on individual stars, our sensitivity is five to ten times better than previous results. Assuming a lognormal excess luminosity function, we put upper limits on the median HZ dust level of 13 zodis (95% confidence) for a sample of stars without cold dust and of 26 zodis when focusing on Sun-like stars without cold dust. However, our data suggest that a more complex luminosity function may be more appropriate. For stars without detectable Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) excess, our upper limits are almost reduced by a factor of two, demonstrating the strength of LBTI target vetting for future exo-Earth imaging missions. Our statistics are limited so far, and extending the survey is critical to informing the design of future exo-Earth imaging surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number194
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • circumstellar matter
  • infrared: stars
  • planetary systems
  • techniques: interferometric
  • zodiacal dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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