First Look at the Fomalhaut Debris Disk with the Spitzer Space Telescope

Stapelfeldt, K. R., Holmes, E. K., Chen, C., Rieke, G. H., Su, K. Y. L., Hines, D. C., Werner, M. W., Beichman, C. A., Jura, M., Padgett, D. L., Stansberry, J. A., Bendo, G., Cadien, J., Marengo, M., Thompson, T., Velusamy, T., Backus, C., Blaylock, M., Egami, E., Engelbracht, C. W., Frayer, D. T., Gordon, K. D., Keene, J., Latter, W. B., Megeath, T., Misselt, K., Morrison, J. E., Muzerolle, J., Noriega-Crespo, A., Van Cleve, J., & Young, E. T.
2004, The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 154, 458

We present Spitzer Space Telescope early release observations of Fomalhaut, a nearby A-type star with dusty circumstellar debris. The disk is spatially resolved at 24, 70, and 160 μm using the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS). While the disk orientation and outer radius are comparable to values measured in the submillimeter, the disk inner radius cannot be precisely defined: the central hole in the submillimeter ring is at least partially filled with emission from warm dust, seen in Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) 17.5-34 μm spectra and MIPS 24 μm images. The disk surface brightness becomes increasingly asymmetric toward shorter wavelengths, with the south-southeast ansa always brighter than the north-northwest one. This asymmetry may reflect perturbations on the disk by an unseen interior planet. Based on observations with the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology for NASA.


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