Exploiting the infrared: IRAS observations of the main sequence

  • D. E. Backman
  • F. C. Gillett
Exploiting the Infrared
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 291)


We examined coadded IRAS survey data on samples of nearby main sequence stars in search of far-IR excesses similar to examples attributed to clouds of orbiting grains. Of 134 systems, 25 (19%) show significant excesses at 25, 60, or 100 μm with color temperatures greater than 35 K. Approximately 15% of the stars have excess more luminous than 2×10−5L*, roughly independent of spectral type. Several stars with excesses appear to be older than 2×109 yrs, indicating that the particle cloud phenomenon is not solely a feature of young objects. Models of three prominent clouds that have been spatially resolved (β Pic, α PsA, and α Lyr) imply central depleted regions with radii of order 20 AU. One possible explanation for maintenance of the depleted regions is that a planet orbits at and defines each cloud's inner boundary, sweeping up particles entering that region. The sun could have a cloud with similar geometry and somewhat smaller optical depth than these examples which would be difficult to detect from earth because of bright zodiacal and galactic emission.


Spectral Type Main Sequence Color Temperature Particle Cloud Main Sequence Star 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. E. Backman
    • 1
  • F. C. Gillett
    • 1
  1. 1.Kitt Peak National ObservatoryNational Optical Astronomy ObservatoriesTucsonUSA

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