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A near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disc stars. V. PIONIER search for variability

Abstract : Context. Extended circumstellar emission has been detected within a few 100 milli-arcsec around ≳10% of nearby main sequence stars using near-infrared interferometry. Follow-up observations using other techniques, should they yield similar results or non-detections, can provide strong constraints on the origin of the emission. They can also reveal the variability of the phenomenon.
Aims: We aim to demonstrate the persistence of the phenomenon over the timescale of a few years and to search for variability of our previously detected excesses.
Methods: Using Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)/Precision Integrated Optics Near Infrared ExpeRiment (PIONIER) in H band we have carried out multi-epoch observations of the stars for which a near-infrared excess was previously detected using the same observation technique and instrument. The detection rates and distribution of the excesses from our original survey and the follow-up observations are compared statistically. A search for variability of the excesses in our time series is carried out based on the level of the broadband excesses.
Results: In 12 of 16 follow-up observations, an excess is re-detected with a significance of > 2σ, and in 7 of 16 follow-up observations significant excess (> 3σ) is re-detected. We statistically demonstrate with very high confidence that the phenomenon persists for the majority of the systems. We also present the first detection of potential variability in two sources.
Conclusions: We conclude that the phenomenon responsible for the excesses persists over the timescale of a few years for the majority of the systems. However, we also find that variability intrinsic to a target can cause it to have no significant excess at the time of a specific observation.

Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under program IDs 088.C-0266, 089.C-0365, 090.C-0526, 091.C-0576, 091.C-0597, 094.C-0232, and commissioning data.

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Submitted on : Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 5:03:36 PM
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S. Ertel, D. Defrère, O. Absil, J. -B. Le Bouquin, J. -C. Augereau, et al.. A near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disc stars. V. PIONIER search for variability. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2016, 595, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201527721⟩. ⟨insu-03691497⟩

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