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What is the origin of exozodiacal dust?

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Many stars show mid-infrared excesses in their SEDs which are associated with warm dust in the habitable zone of the star. This is known as exozodiacal dust, in analogy to the solar system’s zodiacal cloud. The presence of even low levels of this dust will be problematic for future attempts at detection and characterisation of exo-Earths. Therefore, understanding the origins of exozodiacal dust allows us to better target planet detection missions. The origin of this dust is not well understood. I will present a model for how this dust could be produced in a cold planetesimal belt and transported to the inner regions of the system by Poynting-Robertson drag. This model is applied to results from the HOSTS survey, which used the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer to search for exozodiacal dust around nearby stars.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Seminars series.

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