Constraining the planetary system of Fomalhaut using high-resolution alma observations

A. C. Boley, M. J. Payne, S. Corder, W. R.F. Dent, E. B. Ford, M. Shabram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The dynamical evolution of planetary systems leaves observable signatures in debris disks. Optical images trace micron-sized grains, which are strongly affected by stellar radiation and need not coincide with their parent body population. Observations of millimeter-sized grains accurately trace parent bodies, but previous images lack the resolution and sensitivity needed to characterize the ring's morphology. Here we present ALMA 350GHz observations of the Fomalhaut debris ring. These observations demonstrate that the parent body population is 13-19AU wide with a sharp inner and outer boundary. We discuss three possible origins for the ring and suggest that debris confined by shepherd planets is the most consistent with the ring's morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL21
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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