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Astron. Astrophys. 337, 501-511 (1998)

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Planetary migration and sources of dust in the [FORMULA] Pictoris disk

A. Lecavelier des Etangs *

NCRA, TATA Institute of Fundamental Research, Post Bag 3, Ganeshkhind, Pune University Campus, Pune 411 007, India

Received 8 January 1998 / Accepted 23 June 1998


The dust disk around [FORMULA]Pictoris must be produced by collision or by evaporation of orbiting Kuiper belt-like objects. Here we extend the already proposed Orbiting-Evaporating-Bodies (OEB) scenario in which the disk is a gigantic multi-cometary tail supplied by slowly evaporating bodies like Chiron. We show that the number of these OEBs must be several tens of millions, and that this is consistent with the number of bodies needed to explain the presence of CO and C I in the gaseous disk.

We explore some possible origin of the required perturbation on the OEBs. If dust is produced by evaporation, a planet with an eccentric orbit can explain the observed asymmetry of the disk, because the periastron distribution of the parent bodies are then expected to be non-axisymmetric. Following Malhotra (1995), we investigate the consequence for the Kuiper belt-like objects of the formation and the migration of an outer planet like Neptune in Fernández's scheme (Fernández 1982). We find that bodies trapped in resonance with a migrating planet can significantly evaporate, producing a [FORMULA]Pictoris-like disk with similar characteristics like opening angle and asymmetry.

We thus show that the [FORMULA]Pictoris disk can be a transient phenomenon. The circumstellar disks around main sequence stars can be the signature of the present formation and migration of outer planets.

Key words: stars: individual: fi Pic – circumstellar matter – stars: planetary systems

* Present address: Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98 Bld Arago, F-75014 Paris, France

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: August 17, 1998