White Dwarf Debris Disks and the Fate of Planetary Systems

Ted von Hippel

Siena College

After a brief introduction to white dwarfs and debris disks, I will present observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes of metal-polluted white dwarfs with circumstellar debris disks. We measure the constituents of the debris disks, the elemental abundances of the material being accreted, and the accretion timescale. Our measurements support the idea that disruptions of asteroids created these debris disks. Based on the properties of these stars, I interpret the majority of the metal-polluted white dwarfs as resulting from planetary system bodies being ground down during the late stages of stellar evolution.

Date: Jeudi, le 16 avril 2009
Heure: 12:30
Lieu: Université de Montréal
  Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, local D-460
Contact: Pierre Bergeron