ALMA observations of the multiplanet system 61 Vir: What lies outside super-Earth systems?

S. Marino, M. C. Wyatt, G. M. Kennedy, W. Holland, L. Matrà, A. Shannon, R. J. Ivison

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26 Scopus citations


A decade of surveys has hinted at a possible higher occurrence rate of debris discs in systems hosting low-mass planets. This could be due to common favourable forming conditions for rocky planets close in and planetesimals at large radii. In this paper, we present the first resolved millimetre study of the debris disc in the 4.6 Gyr old multiplanet system 61 Vir, combining Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope data at 0.86 mm. We fit the data using a parametric disc model, finding that the disc of planetesimals extends from 30 au to at least 150 au, with a surface density distribution of millimetre-sized grains with a power-law slope of 0.1-0.8 +1.1. We also present a numerical collisional model that can predict the evolution of the surface density of millimetre grains for a given primordial disc, finding that it does not necessarily have the same radial profile as the total mass surface density (as previous studies suggested for the optical depth), with the former being flatter. Finally, we find that if the planetesimal disc was stirred at 150 au by an additional unseen planet, that planet should be more massive than 10 M and lie between 10 and 20 au. Lower planet masses and semimajor axes down to 4 au are possible for eccentricities ≫0.1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3518-3531
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 11 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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