The Spitzer infrared spectrograph debris disk catalog. Ii. Silicate feature analysis of unresolved targets

Tushar Mittal, Christine H. Chen, Hannah Jang-Condell, P. Manoj, Benjamin A. Sargent, Dan M. Watson, Carey M. Lisse

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43 Scopus citations


During the Spitzer Space Telescope cryogenic mission, astronomers obtained Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) observations of hundreds of debris disk candidates that have been compiled in the Spitzer IRS Debris Disk Catalog. We have discovered 10 and/or 20 μm silicate emission features toward 120 targets in the catalog and modeled the IRS spectra of these sources, consistent with MIPS 70 μm observations, assuming that the grains are composed of silicates (olivine, pyroxene, forsterite, and enstatite) and are located either in a continuous disk with power-law size and surface density distributions or thin rings that are well-characterized using two separate dust grain temperatures. For systems better fit by the continuous disk model, we find that (1) the dust size distribution power-law index is consistent with that expected from a collisional cascade, q = 3.5-4.0, with a large number of values outside this range, and (2) the minimum grain size, a min, increases with stellar luminosity, L , but the dependence of a min on L is weaker than expected from radiation pressure alone. In addition, we also find that (3) the crystalline fraction of dust in debris disks evolves as a function of time with a large dispersion in crystalline fractions for stars of any particular stellar age or mass, (4) the disk inner edge is correlated with host star mass, and (5) there exists substantial variation in the properties of coeval disks in Sco-Cen, indicating that the observed variation is probably due to stochasticity and diversity in planet formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number87
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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