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Identification of Main-Sequence Stars with Mid-Infrared Excesses Using GLIMPSE: β Pictoris Analogs?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 17:45 authored by Uzpen, B, Kobulnicky, HA, Olsen, KAG, Clemens, DP, Laurance, TL, Meade, MR, Babler, BL, Indebetouw, R, Whitney, BA, Watson, C, Wolfire, MG, Wolff, MJ, Benjamin, RA, Bania, TM, Cohen, M, Devine, KE, John DickeyJohn Dickey, Heitsch, F, Jackson, JM, Marston, AP, Mathis, JS, Mercer, EP, Stauffer, JR, Stolovy, SR, Backman, DE, Churchwell, E
Spitzer IRAC 3.6-8 μm photometry obtained as part of the GLIMPSE survey has revealed mid-infrared excesses for 33 field stars with known spectral types in a 1.2 deg2 field centered on the southern Galactic H II region RCW 49. These stars comprise a subset of 184 stars with known spectral classification, most of which were preselected to have unusually red IR colors. We propose that the mid-IR excesses are caused by circumstellar dust disks that are either very late remnants of stellar formation or debris disks generated by planet formation. Of these 33 stars, 29 appear to be main-sequence stars on the basis of optical spectral classifications. Five of the 29 main-sequence stars are O or B stars with excesses that can be plausibly explained by thermal bremsstrahlung emission, and four are post-main-sequence stars. The lone O star is an O4 V((f)) at a spectrophotometric distance of 3233-535 +540 pc and may be the earliest member of the Westerlund 2 cluster. Of the remaining 24 main-sequence stars, 18 have spectral energy distributions that are consistent with hot dusty debris disks, a possible signature of planet formation. Modeling the excesses as blackbodies demonstrates that the blackbody components have fractional bolometric disk-to-star luminosity ratios, L IR/L*, ranging from 10-3 to 10-2 with temperatures ranging from 220 to 820 K. The inferred temperatures are more consistent with asteroid belts than with the cooler temperatures expected for Kuiper belts. Mid-IR excesses are found in all spectral types from late B to early K. © 2005. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Publication title

The Astrophysical Journal








School of Natural Sciences


The University of Chicago Press

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Chicago, USA

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