The debris disc of solar analogue tau Ceti : Herschel observations and dynamical simulations of the proposed multiplanet system
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tau Ceti is a nearby, mature G-type star very similar to our Sun, with a massive Kuiper Belt analogue and possible multiplanet system that has been compared to our Solar system. We present Herschel Space Observatory images of the debris disc, finding the disc is resolved at 70 mu m and 160 mu m, and marginally resolved at 250 mu m. The Herschel images and infrared photometry from the literature are best modelled using a wide dust annulus with an inner edge between 1 and 10 au and an outer edge at similar to 55 au, inclined from face-on by 35 degrees +/- 10 degrees, and with no significant azimuthal structure. We model the proposed tightly packed planetary system of five super-Earths and find that the innermost dynamically stable disc orbits are consistent with the inner edge found by the observations. The photometric modelling, however, cannot rule out a disc inner edge as close to the star as 1 au, though larger distances produce a better fit to the data. Dynamical modelling shows that the five-planet system is stable with the addition of a Neptune or smaller mass planet on an orbit outside 5 au, where the radial velocity data analysis would not have detected a planet of this mass.
Lawler , S M , Di Francesco , J , Kennedy , G M , Sibthorpe , B , Booth , M , Vandenbussche , B , Matthews , B C , Holland , W S , Greaves , J , Wilner , D J , Tuomi , M , Blommaert , J A D L , de Vries , B L , Dominik , C , Fridlund , M , Gear , W , Heras , A M , Ivison , R & Olofsson , G 2014 , ' The debris disc of solar analogue tau Ceti : Herschel observations and dynamical simulations of the proposed multiplanet system ' , Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , vol. 444 , no. 3 , pp. 2665-2675 . https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stu1641
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
DescriptionSML and BCM acknowledge an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement which funded this work. This work was also supported by the European Union through ERC grant number 279973 (GMK). MB acknowledges support from a FONDECYT Postdoctral Fellowship, project no. 3140479.
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