Extreme Conditions in a Close Analog to the Young Solar System: Herschel Observations of epsilon Eridani

J. S. Greaves, B. Sibthorpe, B. Acke, E. E. Pantin, B. Vandenbussche, G. Olofsson, C. Dominik, M. J. Barlow, G. J. Bendo, J. A. D. L. Blommaert, A. Brandeker, B. L. de Vries, W. R. F. Dent, J. Di Francesco, M. Fridlund, W. K. Gear, P. M. Harvey, M. R. Hogerheijde, W. S. Holland, R. J. IvisonR. Liseau, B. C. Matthews, G. L. Pilbratt, H. J. Walker, C. Waelkens

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Far-infrared Herschel images of the epsilon Eridani system, seen at a fifth of the Sun's present age, resolve two belts of debris emission. Fits to the 160 μm PACS image yield radial spans for these belts of 12-16 and 54-68 AU. The south end of the outer belt is ≈10% brighter than the north end in the PACS+SPIRE images at 160, 250, and 350 μm, indicating a pericenter glow attributable to a planet "c." From this asymmetry and an upper bound on the offset of the belt center, this second planet should be mildly eccentric (ec ≈ 0.03-0.3). Compared to the asteroid and Kuiper Belts of the young Sun, the epsilon Eri belts are intermediate in brightness and more similar to each other, with up to 20 km sized collisional fragments in the inner belt totaling ≈5% of an Earth mass. This reservoir may feed the hot dust close to the star and could send many impactors through the Habitable Zone, especially if it is being perturbed by the suspected planet epsilon Eri b, at semi-major axis ≈3 AU.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL11
    Number of pages5
    JournalThe Astrophysical Journal. Letters
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


    • circumstellar matter
    • planet-disk interactions
    • stars: individual: epsilon Eridani


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