Research Unit “Debris Disks in Planetary Systems”

Debris discs as planetary probes

Debris discs can be used to probe the outer reaches of planetary systems, where other planet-detection methods struggle. We use debris discs to infer planet properties in a large number of systems, showing that these planets are very similar to those inferred to be forming in protoplanetary discs, and that many planets thought to be interacting with debris discs should be detectable with JWST. The figure shows planets we predict from debris discs, compared to both known planets and those thought to be forming in protoplanetary discs. Small black circles are known exoplanets, and large circles are Solar System planets. Left plot: green diamonds and blue crosses show planets needed to sculpt debris discs if sculpting is performed by one or multiple planets, respectively. Red circles are planets required to stir debris discs. Right plot: black crosses show planets inferred to be forming in protoplanetary discs (Lodato et al. 2019), and coloured ovals denote planets we infer from debris. These two populations match each other, possibly implying that young planets do not migrate inwards as far as previously thought, but rather remain in situ to interact with debris at later times.



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