AuthorMoro-Martin, Maria A.
KeywordsPhysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Meyer, Michael R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMain sequence stars are commonly surrounded by debris disks, composed of cold dust continuously replenished by a reservoir of undetected dust-producing planetesimals. In the outer Solar System, Kuiper Belt (KB) objects produce dust by mutual or interstellar grain collisions. The orbital evolution of KB dust has been numerically modeled. Its equilibrium radial density distribution can be accurately estimated even though there are inherent uncertainties in the prediction of structure, owing to the chaotic dynamics of dust orbital evolution imposed by resonant gravitational perturbations of the planets. The particle size distribution of dust is greatly changed from the distribution at production, as a result of radiation forces and the perturbations of the planets. The contribution of KB dust to the population of interplanetary dust particles collected at Earth may be as low as a few percent. Gravitational scattering by giant planets creates an outflow of large grains. We quantify the characteristics of this large-particle outflow in different planetary architectures, discuss its implications for exo-planetary debris disks, and for the interpretation of in-situ dust detection experiments in space probes traveling in the outer Solar System. These outflows may contribute to the clearing of circumstellar debris in planetary systems, affecting the particle size distribution of their local ISM. In anticipation of future observations of unresolved debris disks with Spitzer, we are interested in studying how the structure carved by planets affects the shape of the disk's spectral energy distribution (SED), and consequently if the SED can be used to infer the presence of planets. We numerically calculate the equilibrium spatial density distributions and SEDs of dust disks originated by an outer belt of planetesimals (35-50 AU) in the presence of different planetary configurations, and for a representative sample of chemical compositions. The dynamical models are needed to estimate the enhancement of particles near the mean motion resonances with the planets, and to determine how many particles drift inside the planet's orbit. Based on the SEDs and predicted Spitzer colors we discuss what types of planetary systems can be distinguishable from one another.
Degree ProgramGraduate College