HOSTS Survey for Exozodiacal Dust for 30 Stars

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HOSTS Survey for Exozodiacal Dust for 30 Stars

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 2nd April 2018, 5:58 pm

The HOSTS survey - Exozodiacal dust measurements for 30 stars
https://arxiv.org/abs/1803.11265

The HOSTS (Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems) survey searches for dust near the habitable zones (HZs) around nearby, bright main sequence stars. We use nulling interferometry in N band to suppress the bright stellar light and to probe for low levels of HZ dust around the 30 stars observed so far. Our overall detection rate is 18%, including four new detections, among which are the first three around Sun-like stars and the first two around stars without any previously known circumstellar dust. The inferred occurrence rates are comparable for early type and Sun-like stars, but decrease from 60 (+16/-21)% for stars with previously detected cold dust to 8 (+10/-3)% for stars without such excess, confirming earlier results at higher sensitivity. For completed observations on individual stars, our sensitivity is five to ten times better than previous results. Assuming a lognormal excess luminosity function, we put upper limits on the median HZ dust level of 13 zodis (95% confidence) for a sample of stars without cold dust and of 26 zodis when focussing on Sun-like stars without cold dust. However, our data suggest that a more complex luminosity function may be more appropriate. For stars without detectable LBTI excess, our upper limits are almost reduced by a factor of two, demonstrating the strength of LBTI target vetting for future exo-Earth imaging missions. Our statistics are so far limited and extending the survey is critical to inform the design of future exo-Earth imaging surveys.

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