PI: Charles Telesco, University of Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Department of Astronomy, PO Box 112055, 211 Bryant Space Science Center, Gainesville, FL, 32611-2055, USA
CoI: Dan Li, University of Florida
CoI: Margaret Moerchen, European Southern Observatory
CoI: Chris Wright, University of New South Wales
Title: Revealing the Structure and Mineralogy of the Beta Pic Central Disk
Abstract: We propose to use T-ReCS spectroscopy at Gemini South to define in unprecedented detailed the distribution of dust particles and their mineralogy in the central disk of the archetype debris disk of Beta Pictoris. Previous mid-IR spectroscopy of this very southern object (-51 deg) from northern observatories have indicated that the dust may be distributed in several rings of material within the central 60 AU. Those observations imply a possible segregation of the particles by mineralogical type, with amorphous grains located in the rings and crystaline particles spread out more uniformly. The picture, then, is that the amorphous particles are produced in the asteroid-belt-like rings, then heated and annealed by the starlight. The possible presence of rings bears strongly on the existence of multiple planets to keep them sabilized, and the suggested dust-processing scenario relates to the fundamental question of how material is processed in circumstellar disks during the earliest phases of planet formation and evolution. Our proposed T-ReCS spectroscopy will improve considerably on the sensitivity and angular resolution over previous observations, and it will provide crucial data needed to settle this issue. We request a total of 8.7 hours of observing time.
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