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A Spitzer Study of Debris Disks In The Young Nearby Cluster NGC 2232: Icy Planets Are Common Around ~ 1.5--3 Solar-Mass Stars

By Thayne Currie, Peter Plavchan and Scott J. Kenyon


We describe Spitzer IRAC and MIPS observations of the nearby 25 Myr-old open cluster NGC 2232. Combining these data with ROSAT All-Sky Survey observations, proper motions, and optical photometry/spectroscopy, we construct a list of highly probable cluster members. We identify 1 A-type star, HD 45435, with definite excess emission at 4.5--24 micron indicative of debris from terrestrial planet formation. We also identify 2--4 late-type stars with possible 8 micron excesses, and 8 early-type stars with definite 24 micron excesses. Constraints on the dust luminosity and temperature suggest that the detected excesses are produced by debris disks. From our sample of B and A stars, stellar rotation appears correlated with 24 micron excess, a result expected if massive primordial disks evolve into massive debris disks. To explore the evolution of the frequency and magnitude of debris around A-type stars, we combine our results with data for other young clusters. The frequency of debris disks around A-type stars appears to increase from ~ 25% at 5 Myr to ~ 50--60% at 20--25 Myr. Older A-type stars have smaller debris disk frequencies: ~ 20% at 50--100 Myr. For these ages, the typical level of debris emission rises from 5--20 Myr and then declines. Because 24 micron dust emission probes icy planet formation around A-type stars, our results suggest that the frequency of icy planet formation is eta(i) > 0.5--0.6. Thus, most A-type stars (approx. 1.5--3 Msun) produce icy planets.Comment: 51 pages, 14 figures, accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journa

Topics: Astrophysics
Publisher: 'University of Chicago Press'
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1086/591842
OAI identifier:

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