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Exozodiacal clouds
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Title: Exozodiacal clouds: Hot and warm dust around main sequence stars
Author: Quentin Kral, Alexander V. Krivov, Denis Defrere, Rik van Lieshout, Amy Bonsor, Jean-Charles Augereau, Philippe Thebault, Olivier Absil, Steve Ertel

A warm/hot dust component (at temperature > 300K) has been detected around ~ 20% of stars. This component is called "exozodiacal dust" as it presents similarities with the zodiacal dust detected in our Solar System, even though its physical properties and spatial distribution can be significantly different. Understanding the origin and evolution of this dust is of crucial importance, not only because its presence could hamper future detections of Earth-like planets in their habitable zones, but also because it can provide invaluable information about the inner regions of planetary systems. In this review, we present a detailed overview of the observational techniques used in the detection and characterisation of exozodiacal dust clouds ("exozodis") and the results they have yielded so far, in particular regarding the incidence rate of exozodis as a function of crucial parameters such as stellar type and age, or the presence of an outer cold debris disc. We also present the important constraints that have been obtained, on dust size distribution and spatial location, by using state-of-the-art radiation transfer models on some of these systems. Finally, we investigate the crucial issue of how to explain the presence of exozodiacal dust around so many stars (regardless of their ages) despite the fact that such dust so close to its host star should disappear rapidly due to the coupled effect of collisions and stellar radiation pressure. Several potential mechanisms have been proposed to solve this paradox and are reviewed in detail in this paper. The review finishes by presenting the future of this growing field.

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Exozodiacal Light
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VLTI Detects Exozodiacal Light

By using the full power of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer an international team of astronomers has discovered exozodiacal light close to the habitable zones around nine nearby stars. This light is starlight reflected from dust created as the result of collisions between asteroids, and the evaporation of comets. The presence of such large amounts of dust in the inner regions around some stars may pose an obstacle to the direct imaging of Earth-like planets in the future.
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Exozodiacal Clouds
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Title: A Search for Exozodiacal Clouds with Kepler
Authors: Christopher C. Stark, Alan P. Boss, Alycia J. Weinberger, Brian K. Jackson, Michael Endl, William D. Cochran, Marshall Johnson, Caroline Caldwell, Eric Agol, Eric B. Ford, Jennifer R. Hall, Khadeejah A. Ibrahim, Jie Li

Planets embedded within dust disks may drive the formation of large scale clumpy dust structures by trapping dust into resonant orbits. Detection and subsequent modelling of the dust structures would help constrain the mass and orbit of the planet and the disk architecture, give clues to the history of the planetary system, and provide a statistical estimate of disk asymmetry for future exoEarth-imaging missions. Here we present the first search for these resonant structures in the inner regions of planetary systems by analysing the light curves of hot Jupiter planetary candidates identified by the Kepler mission. We detect only one candidate disk structure associated with KOI 838.01 at the 3-sigma confidence level, but subsequent radial velocity measurements reveal that KOI 838.01 is a grazing eclipsing binary and the candidate disk structure is a false positive. Using our null result, we place an upper limit on the frequency of dense exozodi structures created by hot Jupiters. We find that at the 90% confidence level, less than 21% of Kepler hot Jupiters create resonant dust clumps that lead and trail the planet by ~90 degrees with optical depths >~5*10^-6, which corresponds to the resonant structure expected for a lone hot Jupiter perturbing a dynamically cold dust disk 50 times as dense as the zodiacal cloud.

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Exozodiacal dust
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Title: Scattering of small bodies by planets: a potential origin for exozodiacal dust ?
Authors: Amy Bonsor, Jean-Charles Augereau, Philippe Thebault

High levels of exozodiacal dust are observed around a growing number of main sequence stars. The origin of such dust is not clear, given that it has a short lifetime against both collisions and radiative forces. Even a collisional cascade with km-sized parent bodies, as suggested to explain outer debris discs, cannot survive sufficiently long. In this work we investigate whether the observed exozodiacal dust could originate from an outer planetesimal belt. We investigate the scattering processes in stable planetary systems in order to determine whether sufficient material could be scattered inwards in order to retain the exozodiacal dust at its currently observed levels. We use N-body simulations to investigate the efficiency of this scattering and its dependence on the architecture of the planetary system. The results of these simulations can be used to assess the ability of hypothetical chains of planets to produce exozodi in observed systems. We find that for older (>100Myr) stars with exozodiacal dust, a massive, large radii (>20AU) outer belt and a chain of tightly packed, low-mass planets would be required in order to retain the dust at its currently observed levels. This brings into question how many, if any, real systems possess such a contrived architecture and are therefore capable of scattering at sufficiently high rates to retain exozodi dust on long timescales.

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Exozodiacal Dust Cloud
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Title: The Transit Light Curve of an Exozodiacal Dust Cloud
Authors: Christopher C. Stark

Planets embedded within debris disks gravitationally perturb nearby dust and can create clumpy, azimuthally asymmetric circumstellar ring structures that rotate in lock with the planet. The Earth creates one such structure in the solar zodiacal dust cloud. In an edge-on system, the dust "clumps" periodically pass in front of the star as the planet orbits, occulting and forward-scattering starlight. In this paper, we predict the shape and magnitude of the corresponding transit signal. To do so, we model the dust distributions of collisional, steady-state exozodiacal clouds perturbed by planetary companions. We examine disks with dusty ring structures formed by the planet's resonant trapping of in-spiralling dust for a range of planet masses and semi-major axes, dust properties, and disk masses. We synthesize edge-on images of these models and calculate the transit signatures of the resonant ring structures. The transit light curves created by dusty resonant ring structures typically exhibit two broad transit minima that lead and trail the planetary transit. We find that Jupiter-mass planets embedded within disks hundreds of times denser than our zodiacal cloud can create resonant ring structures with transit depths up to ~10^{-4}, possibly detectable with Kepler. Resonant rings produced by planets more or less massive than Jupiter produce smaller transit depths. Observations of these transit signals may provide upper limits on the degree of asymmetry in exozodiacal clouds.

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