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Published September 1, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Imaging the Debris Disk of HD 32297 with a Phase-Mask Coronagraph at High Strehl Ratio


We present the first K_s -band image of the scattered light from HD 32297's debris disk. HD 32297 is an A5 star known to possess a nearly edge-on disk with a high fractional luminosity L_d /L_* ≈ 0.003 in the infrared. Our image was obtained using phase-mask coronagraphy on the 1.6 m well-corrected subaperture on the 5 m Palomar Hale telescope, and reaches an inner working angle of 400 mas. We confirm the previously reported disk asymmetry and central hole. The gray J – K_s disk color appears similar on the two sides of the disk, which would demand a minimum grain size of at least a few microns, larger than thermal arguments suggest. One possible explanation is a planetesimal clump in a resonant orbit with an outward migrating giant planet, located at larger radii than the warm dust emitting at longer wavelengths. Our observations also clearly demonstrate the benefits of operating in the extreme adaptive optics regime with a coronagraph able to reach a very small inner working angle.

Additional Information

© 2009. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 May 13; accepted 2009 July 27; published 2009 August 13. This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), under contract with NASA. D.M. is supported by an appointment to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at JPL, Caltech, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities through a contract with NASA. The data presented in this Letter are based on observations obtained at the Hale Telescope, Palomar Observatory, as part of a continuing collaboration between Caltech, NASA/JPL, and Cornell University.

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