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Published April 1, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Common Warm Dust Temperatures Around Main-sequence Stars


We compare the properties of warm dust emission from a sample of main-sequence A-type stars (B8-A7) to those of dust around solar-type stars (F5-K0) with similar Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Spectrograph/MIPS data and similar ages. Both samples include stars with sources with infrared spectral energy distributions that show evidence of multiple components. Over the range of stellar types considered, we obtain nearly the same characteristic dust temperatures (~190 K and ~60 K for the inner and outer dust components, respectively)—slightly above the ice evaporation temperature for the inner belts. The warm inner dust temperature is readily explained if populations of small grains are being released by sublimation of ice from icy planetesimals. Evaporation of low-eccentricity icy bodies at ~150 K can deposit particles into an inner/warm belt, where the small grains are heated to T_(dust)~ 190 K. Alternatively, enhanced collisional processing of an asteroid belt-like system of parent planetesimals just interior to the snow line may account for the observed uniformity in dust temperature. The similarity in temperature of the warmer dust across our B8-K0 stellar sample strongly suggests that dust-producing planetesimals are not found at similar radial locations around all stars, but that dust production is favored at a characteristic temperature horizon.

Additional Information

© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 December 15; accepted 2011 February 21; published 2011 March 9. We thank Paul Weissman and Neal Turner (JPL) for their helpful comments and stimulating discussions, and the referee for the careful reading and detailed comments. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under NASA contract 1407.

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