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Published December 1, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

The structure of the β leonis debris disk


We combine nulling interferometry at 10 μm using the MMT and Keck Telescopes with spectroscopy, imaging, and photometry from 3 to 100 μm using Spitzer to study the debris disk around β Leo over a broad range of spatial scales, corresponding to radii of 0.1 to ~100 AU. We have also measured the close binary star o Leo with both Keck and MMT interferometers to verify our procedures with these instruments. The β Leo debris system has a complex structure: (1) relatively little material within 1 AU; (2) an inner component with a color temperature of ~600 K, fitted by a dusty ring from about 2–3 AU; and (3) a second component with a color temperature of ~120 K fitted by a broad dusty emission zone extending from about ~5 AU to ~55 AU. Unlike many other A-type stars with debris disks, β Leo lacks a dominant outer belt near 100 AU.

Additional Information

© 2010 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 March 9; accepted 2010 September 25; published 2010 November 11. We thank R. Akeson and R. Millan-Gabet for extensive assistance with the KIN observations. We are grateful to M. Colavita for reduction of the 2008 February β Leo data, J. Bouwman for providing the FEPS IRS reduction pipeline and slit offset correction software, and P. Smith for reduction of the MIPS-SED data. We also thank R. Akeson and O. Absil for discussion of the K-band excess. Some observations reported here were obtained at the MMT Observatory, a joint facility of the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona, and by the Keck Interferometer, which is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of its Navigator program. This work has made use of services produced by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology. This work was supported by KI subcontract 1330562 and contract 1255094 from JPL/Caltech to the University of Arizona.

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