A near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disc stars
V. PIONIER search for variability⋆
1 European Southern Observatory,
Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura,
Casilla 19001, Santiago
2 Steward Observatory, Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona, 993 N. Cherry Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
3 Space sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research (STAR) Institute, Université de Liège, 19c Allée du Six Août, 4000 Liège, Belgium
4 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
5 CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
6 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
7 Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
8 Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, CB3 0HA, UK
9 Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
10 NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, California Institute of Technology, 770 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
11 Instituto de Física y Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Valparaíso, Av. Gran Bretaña 1111, Playa Ancha, Valparaíso, Chile
Accepted: 14 August 2016
Context. Extended circumstellar emission has been detected within a few 100 milli-arcsec around ≳10% of nearby main sequence stars using near-infrared interferometry. Follow-up observations using other techniques, should they yield similar results or non-detections, can provide strong constraints on the origin of the emission. They can also reveal the variability of the phenomenon.
Aims. We aim to demonstrate the persistence of the phenomenon over the timescale of a few years and to search for variability of our previously detected excesses.
Methods. Using Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)/Precision Integrated Optics Near Infrared ExpeRiment (PIONIER) in H band we have carried out multi-epoch observations of the stars for which a near-infrared excess was previously detected using the same observation technique and instrument. The detection rates and distribution of the excesses from our original survey and the follow-up observations are compared statistically. A search for variability of the excesses in our time series is carried out based on the level of the broadband excesses.
Results. In 12 of 16 follow-up observations, an excess is re-detected with a significance of > 2σ, and in 7 of 16 follow-up observations significant excess (> 3σ) is re-detected. We statistically demonstrate with very high confidence that the phenomenon persists for the majority of the systems. We also present the first detection of potential variability in two sources.
Conclusions. We conclude that the phenomenon responsible for the excesses persists over the timescale of a few years for the majority of the systems. However, we also find that variability intrinsic to a target can cause it to have no significant excess at the time of a specific observation.
Key words: techniques: interferometric / circumstellar matter / planetary systems / zodiacal dust
© ESO, 2016