Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 401–411 | Cite as

Prospects for the characterisation of exo-zodiacal dust with the VLTI

  • S. ErtelEmail author
  • O. Absil
  • D. Defrère
  • J.-C. Augereau
  • B. Mennesson
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Future of Optical-infrared Interferometry in Europe


Exo-zodiacal dust, exozodi for short, is warm (∼300 K) or hot (up to ∼2000 K) dust found in the inner regions of planetary systems around main sequence stars. In analogy to our own zodiacal dust, it may be located in or near the habitable zone or closer in, down to the dust sublimation distance. The study of the properties, distribution, and evolution of exozodis can inform about the architecture and dynamics of the innermost regions of planetary systems, close to their habitable zones. On the other hand, the presence of large amounts of exo-zodiacal dust may be an obstacle for future space missions aiming to image Earth-like exoplanets. The dust can be the most luminous component of extrasolar planetary systems, but predominantly emits in the near- to mid-infrared where it is outshone by the host star. Interferometry provides a unique method of separating the dusty from the stellar emission. We discuss the prospects of exozodi observations with the next generation VLTI instruments and summarize critical instrument specifications.


Interferometry Circumstellar matter Exo-zodiacal dust Planetary systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Steward Observatory, Department of AstronomyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research (STAR) InstituteUniversité de LiègeLiègeBelgium
  3. 3.Université Grenoble Alpes, IPAGGrenobleFrance
  4. 4.CNRS, IPAGGrenobleFrance
  5. 5.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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