Published on Tue Jun 22 2021

Four new PLanetesimals Around TYpical and Pre-main seqUence Stars (PLATYPUS) Debris Discs at 8.8mm

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Millimetre continuum observations of debris discs can provide insights into the physical and dynamical properties of the unseen planetesimals that these discs host. The material properties and collisional models of planetesimals leave their signature on the grain size distribution, which can be traced through the millimetre spectral index. We present 8.8 mm observations of the debris discs HD 48370, CPD 72 2713, HD 131488, and HD 32297 using the Australian Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) as part of the PLanetesimals Around TYpicalPre-main seqUence Stars (PLATYPUS) survey. We detect all four targets with a characteristic beam size of 5 arcseconds and derive a grain size distribution parameter that is consistent with collisional cascade models and theoretical predictions for parent planetesimal bodies where binding is dominated by self-gravity. We combine our sample with 19 other millimetre-wavelength detected debris discs from the literature and calculate a weighted mean grain size power law index which is close to analytical predictions for a classical steady state collisional cascade model. We suggest the possibility of two distributions of q in our debris disc sample; a broad distribution (where q is approximately 3.2 to 3.7) for "typical" debris discs (gas-poor/non-detection), and a narrow distribution (where q is less than 3.2) for bright gas-rich discs. Or alternatively, we suggest that there exists an observational bias between the grain size distribution parameter and absolute flux which may be attributed to the detection rates of faint debris discs at cm wavelengths.

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