Observations of debris disks, the products of the collisional evolution of rocky planetesimals, can be used to trace planetary activity across a wide range of stellar types. The most common end points of stellar evolution are no exception, as debris disks have been observed around several dozen white dwarf stars. But instead of planetary formation, post-main-sequence debris disks are a signpost of planetary destruction, resulting in compact debris disks from the tidal disruption of remnant planetesimals. In this work, we present the discovery of five new debris disks around white dwarf stars with gaseous debris in emission. All five systems exhibit excess infrared radiation from dusty debris, emission lines from gaseous debris, and atmospheric absorption features indicating ongoing accretion of metal-rich debris. In four of the systems, we detect multiple metal species in emission, some of which occur at strengths and transitions previously unseen in debris disks around white dwarf stars. Our first year of spectroscopic follow-up hints at strong variability in the emission lines that can be studied in the future, expanding the range of phenomena these post-main-sequence debris disks exhibit.

Five New Post-main-sequence Debris Disks with Gaseous Emission

Gentile Fusillo N. P.;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Observations of debris disks, the products of the collisional evolution of rocky planetesimals, can be used to trace planetary activity across a wide range of stellar types. The most common end points of stellar evolution are no exception, as debris disks have been observed around several dozen white dwarf stars. But instead of planetary formation, post-main-sequence debris disks are a signpost of planetary destruction, resulting in compact debris disks from the tidal disruption of remnant planetesimals. In this work, we present the discovery of five new debris disks around white dwarf stars with gaseous debris in emission. All five systems exhibit excess infrared radiation from dusty debris, emission lines from gaseous debris, and atmospheric absorption features indicating ongoing accretion of metal-rich debris. In four of the systems, we detect multiple metal species in emission, some of which occur at strengths and transitions previously unseen in debris disks around white dwarf stars. Our first year of spectroscopic follow-up hints at strong variability in the emission lines that can be studied in the future, expanding the range of phenomena these post-main-sequence debris disks exhibit.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3077009
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