PI: Stanimir Metchev, Stony Brook University, email@example.com
Address: Physics Department, 100 Nicolls Rd, Stony Brook, New York 11794-3800, United States
Title: A Sensitive Search for Exozodi Across the Ten-Micron Silicate Feature
Abstract: I propose to test the feasibility of a differential photometric technique to identify faint dusty circumstellar debris disks with excess ten-micron silicate emission. A small number of perhaps the brightest such disks have been discovered by Spitzer and in archival IRAS data. These point to the potential existence of numerous other analogs of the solar system zodiacal dust belt. Silicate emission at ~10\micron is a distinctive feature of the excess signature of exozodiacal belts. The proposed technique employs differential narrow-band 8-11\micron photometry across the silicate feature, repeatedly sampling its 10-11\micron peak and its <9\micron low-flux wing. As aptly suggested by the TAC in the previous review of this proposal, the photometric precision of the approach was modeled by convolving the expected signal with the atmospheric transmission and instrument response profiles. The simulations are very encouraging, and have shown that the originally requested weather conditions were too restrictive. Eightieth percentile sky transparency at Mauna Kea (50%- ile at Cerro Pachon) is sufficient for the method to perform as well as exozodi searches with Spitzer around G stars within 25pc.
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