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Published February 1, 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

Evolution of mid-infrared excess around sun-like stars : constraints on models of terrestrial planet formation


We report observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope regarding the frequency of 24 μm excess emission toward Sun-like stars. Our unbiased sample is composed of 309 stars with masses 0.7-2.2 M⊙ and ages from <3 Myr to >3 Gyr that lack excess emission at wavelengths ≤8 μm. We identify 30 stars that exhibit clear evidence of excess emission from the observed 24 μm/8 μm flux ratio. The implied 24 μm excesses of these candidate debris disk systems range from 13% (the minimum detectable) to more than 100% compared to the expected photospheric emission. The frequency of systems with evidence for dust debris emitting at 24 μm ranges from 8.5%-19% at ages <300 Myr to <4% for older stars. The results suggest that many, perhaps most, Sun-like stars might form terrestrial planets.

Additional Information

© 2008 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 June 28; accepted 2007 December 5; published 2008 January 9. We thank all members of the FEPS, IRAC, MIPS, and SSC teams for their efforts, as well as Scott Kenyon, Nick Siegler, and George Rieke for valuable discussions, and an anonymous referee for helpful suggestions. This work was based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech.

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