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A near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disk stars. VII. The hot-to-warm dust connection

Abstract : Context. Hot exozodiacal dust has been shown to be present in the innermost regions of an increasing number of main sequence stars over the past 15 yr. However, the origin of hot exozodiacal dust and its connection with outer dust reservoirs remains unclear.
Aims: We aim to explore the possible connection between hot exozodiacal dust and warm dust reservoirs (≥100 K) in asteroid belts.
Methods: We use precision near-infrared interferometry with VLTI/PIONIER to search for resolved emission at H-band around a selected sample of 62 nearby stars that show possible signs of warm dust populations.
Results: Our observations reveal the presence of resolved near-infrared emission around 17 out of 52 stars with sufficient data quality. For four of these, the emission is shown to be due to a previously unknown stellar companion. The 13 other H-band excesses are thought to originate from the thermal emission of hot dust grains, close to their sublimation temperature. Taking into account earlier PIONIER observations, where some stars with warm dust were also observed, and after re-evaluating the warm dust content of all our PIONIER targets through spectral energy distribution modeling, we find a detection rate of 17.1−4.6+8.1% for H-band excess around main sequence stars hosting warm dust belts, which is statistically compatible with the occurrence rate of 14.6−2.8+4.3% found around stars showing no signs of warm dust. After correcting for the sensitivity loss due to partly unresolved hot disks, under the assumption that they are arranged in a thin ring around their sublimation radius, we find tentative evidence at the 3σ level that H-band excesses around stars with outer dust reservoirs (warm or cold) could be statistically larger than H-band excesses around stars with no detectable outer dust.
Conclusions: Our observations do not suggest a direct connection between warm and hot dust populations at the sensitivity level of the considered instruments, although they bring to light a possible correlation between the level of H-band excess and the presence of outer dust reservoirs in general.

Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under program IDs 093.C-0712 and 094.C-0325.

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Submitted on : Monday, June 27, 2022 - 1:47:45 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 3:37:49 PM

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O. Absil, L. Marion, S. Ertel, D. Defrère, G. M. Kennedy, et al.. A near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disk stars. VII. The hot-to-warm dust connection. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2021, 651, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202140561⟩. ⟨insu-03705300⟩

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