Institute of Astronomy

Debris Discs from the Pre-Main Sequence Through the Giant Branch

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Brenda Matthews30 July 2014Across HR 2014 Talks


Debris discs are observed around main sequence stars of all ages and around evolved stars as well. The onset of the debris phenomenon, collisional grinding of large bodies to smaller dust, likely begins very early, potentially even in the pre-main sequence phase. In this review, I will focus on resolved imaging and the characterization of debris discs across this age range, including what we know about the solar system’s debris disc and how it can be linked to studies of debris discs around other stars.

One of the great promises of debris disc imaging is that evidence of unseen planets could be detected within the system. Indeed, both Fomalhaut and Beta Pictoris were singled out as potential planet hosts due to asymmetries in their debris discs. The increasing number of debris discs with multiple discrete belts of dust are highly suggestive of the presence of planets. I will highlight these results in particular as well as more generally presenting evidence of the interconnection between debris discs and exoplanetary systems.