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Astron. Astrophys. 327, 1123-1136

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Mid-infrared images and models of the $\beta$ Pictoris dust disk*

E. Pantin1, P.O. Lagage2, and P. Artymowicz3

1 CEA/DSM/DAPNIA Service d'Astrophysique F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex and Jussieu University, 5 place Jussieu, F-75005 Paris, France
2 CEA/DSM/DAPNIA Service d'Astrophysique (URA 2052 associée au CNRS) F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3 Stockholm Observatory, Stockholm University, S-133 36 Saltjöbaden, Sweden

Received 14 August 1996 / Accepted 31 January 1997


New high resolution mid-infrared images of the inner part of the $\beta$ Pictoris circumstellar dust disk are reported. These data are used to probe the inner disk geometry and to derive the 0-100 AU radial density profile, with a spatial resolution of 5 AU. Realistic grains (porous silicates with a core of olivine and pyroxene coated with a mantle ``organic refractories'') rather than solid Draine and Lee silicates, have been incorporated in models describing the dust thermal emission. In a first set of models, we assume a single composition for the grains. These models are not able to fully reproduce simultaneously our data and the IRAS fluxes. In a second set of models, we introduce another component, consisting of particles containing some ice beyond a limit around 90-100 AU. Such a model fulfils all the observational constraints (including the visible scattered flux) and resolves the discrepancy concerning the particles albedo which is predicted to be too small in the first set of models. It also predicts an ice feature at 50 µm; a feature around 6 µm characteristic of the organic refractory material; and several crystalline olivine features at 24, 28 and 35 µm. These features should be observable with the Short Wavelength Spectrometer (SWS) and Long Wavelength Spectrometer (LWS) on board the Infrared Space Observatory. 20 µm images should also show an abrupt cut-off around 90-100 AU due to the change of the grains composition. ISOCAM should image essentially the scattered starlight, showing the transition between the thermal emission of the inner, non-icy, component, and the scattered emission in the mid-infrared range from the outer component containing ice.

Key words: stars individual: $\beta\:$ Pictoris - dust - stars: infrared - planetary systems

*based on data obtained at ESO 3.6m telescope, La Silla, Chile.

Send offprint requests to: P.O. Lagage

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: October 20, 1997
Last change: April 6, 1998