The Correlation Between Metallicity and Debris Disk mass
Gaspar et al
We find that the initial dust masses in planetary debris disks are correlated with the metallicities of their central stars. We compiled a large sample of systems, including Spitzer, the Herschel DUNES and DEBRIS surveys, and WISE debris disk candidates. We also merged 33 metallicity catalogs to provide homogeneous [Fe/H] and σ[Fe/H] values. We analyzed this merged sample, including 222 detected disks (74 warm and 148 cold) around a total of 187 systems (some with multiple components) and 440 disks with only upper limits (125 warm and 315 cold), around a total of 360 systems. The disk dust masses at a common early evolutionary point in time were determined using our numerical disk evolutionary code, evolving a unique model for each of the 662 disks backward to an age of 1 Myr. We find that disk-bearing stars seldom have metallicities less than [Fe/H] = -0.2 and that the distribution of warm component masses lacks examples with large mass around stars of low metallicity ([Fe/H] less than -0.085). Previous efforts to find a correlation have been largely unsuccessful; the primary improvements supporting our result are: 1.) basing the study on dust masses, not just infrared excess detections; 2.) including upper limits on dust mass in a quantitative way; 3.) accounting for the evolution of debris disk excesses as systems age; 4.) accounting fully for the range of uncertainties in metallicity measurements; and 5.) having a statistically large enough sample.