Volume 629, September 2019
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||18 September 2019|
Constraining the detectability of water ice in debris disks
Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel,
2 Laborastrophysikgruppe des Max-Planck-Instituts für Astronomie am Institut für Festkörperphysik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Helmholtzweg 3, 07743 Jena, Germany
3 Astrophysikalisches Institut und Universitäts-Sternwarte, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Schillergäßchen 2-3, 07745 Jena, Germany
Accepted: 13 August 2019
Context. Water ice is important for the evolution and preservation of life. Identifying the distribution of water ice in debris disks is therefore of great interest in the field of astrobiology. Furthermore, icy dust grains are expected to play important roles throughout the entire planet formation process. However, currently available observations only allow deriving weak conclusions about the existence of water ice in debris disks.
Aims. We investigate whether it is feasible to detect water ice in typical debris disk systems. We take the following ice destruction mechanisms into account: sublimation of ice, dust production through planetesimal collisions, and photosputtering by UV-bright central stars. We consider icy dust mixture particles with various shapes consisting of amorphous ice, crystalline ice, astrosilicate, and vacuum inclusions (i.e., porous ice grains).
Methods. We calculated optical properties of inhomogeneous icy dust mixtures using effective medium theories, that is, Maxwell-Garnett rules. Subsequently, we generated synthetic debris disk observables, such as spectral energy distributions and spatially resolved thermal reemission and scattered light intensity and polarization maps with our code DMS.
Results. We find that the prominent ~3 and 44 μm water ice features can be potentially detected in future observations of debris disks with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Space Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA). We show that the sublimation of ice, collisions between planetesimals, and photosputtering caused by UV sources clearly affect the observational appearance of debris disk systems. In addition, highly porous ice (or ice-rich aggregates) tends to produce highly polarized radiation at around 3 μm. Finally, the location of the ice survival line is determined by various dust properties such as a fractional ratio of ice versus dust, physical states of ice (amorphous or crystalline), and the porosity of icy grains.
Key words: circumstellar matter / planetary systems / methods: numerical
© ESO 2019
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