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Published February 2015 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Exo-zodi Modeling for the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer


Habitable zone dust levels are a key unknown that must be understood to ensure the success of future space missions to image Earth analogs around nearby stars. Current detection limits are several orders of magnitude above the level of the solar system's zodiacal cloud, so characterization of the brightness distribution of exo-zodi down to much fainter levels is needed. To this end, the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) will detect thermal emission from habitable zone exo-zodi a few times brighter than solar system levels. Here we present a modeling framework for interpreting LBTI observations, which yields dust levels from detections and upper limits that are then converted into predictions and upper limits for the scattered light surface brightness. We apply this model to the HOSTS survey sample of nearby stars; assuming a null depth uncertainty of 10^(–4) the LBTI will be sensitive to dust a few times above the solar system level around Sun-like stars, and to even lower dust levels for more massive stars.

Additional Information

© 2015 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 October 1; accepted 2014 November 14; published 2015 January 27. The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of its Exoplanet Exploration Program. This work was supported by the European Union through ERC grant No. 279973 (G.M.K., O.P., A.B.S., and M.C.W.). We thank the reviewer for valuable comments. Part of this work was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and at theNASA Exoplanet Science Center (NExScI), under contract with NASA.

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Published - 0067-0049_216_2_23.pdf

Submitted - 1412.0675v1.pdf


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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023