Project P1: Collisional modeling of resolved debris disks (AIU/Jena)


The aim of the proposed project is to extend our knowledge of planetary systems harboring debris disks with the help of state-of-the-art collisional models. Our preliminary work has demonstrated that an in-depth collisional modeling is a very powerful tool to decipher information encrypted in the observed dust emission and stellar light scattered by dust in debris disks. Such a modeling is necessary to "climb the ladder of the collisional cascade" from dust to its parent bodies, directly unobservable planetesimals. In this way, various parameters of the planetesimal belts can be inferred. These include location and mass of planetesimal belts, their size and radial distribution, degree of dynamical excitation, mechanical properties and material composition, and others. We should also be able to place constraints on the alleged planets that sculpt and stir the planetesimal belts, as well as certain parameters of the central star, for instance the expected level of chromospheric emission or strength of the stellar winds that all affect the dust distribution and excess emission. Ultimately, one can attempt to roughly restore the formation history of the debris disk systems. The project foresees both a further development of the modeling codes and their application to a handful of selected debris disk systems. Both will be done in a close collaboration with projects P4–P9 that will provide key ingredients for the collisional models and the calculation of observables.