Impact of planetesimal eccentricities and material strength on the appearance of eccentric debris disks
Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel,
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
3 Astrophysikalisches Institut und Universitäts-Sternwarte, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Schillergäßchen 2-3, 07745 Jena, Germany
Accepted: 4 June 2018
Context. Since circumstellar dust in debris disks is short-lived, dust-replenishing requires the presence of a reservoir of planetesimals. These planetesimals in the parent belt of debris disks orbit their host star and continuously supply the disk with fine dust through their mutual collisions.
Aims. We aim to understand effects of different collisional parameters on the observational appearance of eccentric debris disks. These parameters are the eccentricity of the planetesimal belt, dynamical excitation, and the material strength.
Methods. The collisional evolution of selected debris disk configurations was simulated with the numerical code ACE. Subsequently, selected observable quantities are simulated with our newly developed code DMS. The impact of the eccentricity, dynamical excitation, and the material strength is discussed with respect to the grain size distribution, the spectral energy distribution, and spatially resolved images of debris disk systems.
Results. The most recognizable features in different collisional evolutions are as follows. First, both the increase of dynamical excitation in the eccentric belt of the debris disk system and the decrease of the material strength of dust particles result in a higher production rate of smaller particles. This reduces the surface brightness differences between the periastron and the apastron sides of the disks. For very low material strengths, the “pericenter glow” phenomenon is reduced and eventually even replaced by the opposite effect, the “apocenter glow”. In contrast, higher material strengths and lower dynamical excitation of the system result in an enhancement of asymmetries in the surface brightness distribution. Second, it is possible to constrain the level of collisional activity from the appearance of the disk, for example, the wavelength-dependent apocenter-to-pericenter flux ratio. Within the considered parameter space, the impact of the material strength on the appearance of the disk is stronger than that of dynamical excitation of the system. Finally, we find that the impact of the collisional parameters on the net spectral energy distribution is weak.
Key words: circumstellar matter / planetary systems / methods: numerical
© ESO 2018