Research Unit “Debris Disks in Planetary Systems”

The Northern Arc of ε Eridani's Debris Ring as Seen by ALMA

The closest star to the Sun known to host a debris disc is epsilon Eridani. We observed this disc with the ALMA observatory in Chile. Due to the proximity of the system, we focused these first observations on the northern part of the disc in order to determine the width of the disc. We find the disc to be a very narrow ring, just 12 AU wide. The narrowness of the ring is suggestive of interactions with a planet that, like Neptune in the Solar System, is shaping the inner and outer edges of the ring. Further observations of the complete ring will allow us to more accurately determine the properties of this hypothetical planet.

(Left) Image of the system. The bright point at the bottom of the image is the star and the dust emission is seen as a narrow arc. The dashed line indicates a distance of 70 AU from the star.

(Right) The radial profile of the ring also shows some tentative signs of emission just interior to the main belt.



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