A Comprehensive Dust Model Applied to the Resolved Beta Pictoris Debris Disk from Optical to Radio Wavelengths
Ballering et al
We investigate whether varying the dust composition (described by the optical constants) can solve a persistent problem in debris disk modeling--the inability to fit the thermal emission without over-predicting the scattered light. We model five images of the beta Pictoris disk: two in scattered light from HST/STIS at 0.58 microns and HST/WFC3 at 1.16 microns, and three in thermal emission from Spitzer/MIPS at 24 microns, Herschel/PACS at 70 microns, and ALMA at 870 microns. The WFC3 and MIPS data are published here for the first time. We focus our modeling on the outer part of this disk, consisting of a parent body ring and a halo of small grains. First, we confirm that a model using astronomical silicates cannot simultaneously fit the thermal and scattered light data. Next, we use a simple, generic function for the optical constants to show that varying the dust composition can improve the fit substantially. Finally, we model the dust as a mixture of the most plausible debris constituents: astronomical silicates, water ice, organic refractory material, and vacuum. We achieve a good fit to all datasets with grains composed predominantly of silicates and organics, while ice and vacuum are, at most, present in small amounts. This composition is similar to one derived from previous work on the HR 4796A disk. Our model also fits the thermal SED, scattered light colors, and high-resolution mid-IR data from T-ReCS for this disk. Additionally, we show that sub-blowout grains are a necessary component of the halo.