An Extinction Probe Through the HD 107146 Debris Ring: Taking Unique Advantage of a Background Galaxy Transit
We propose a 3-cycle GO program utilizing a total of HST 30 orbits to directly measure and map the line-of-sight optical depth through the brightest sector of the HD 107146 solar-analog debris ring by ring-transit differential photometry of a bright (compared to the disk), spatially extended, background galaxy. We will advantageously exploit its serendipitously unique and experiment-enabling high proper motion reflex trajectory w.r.t. the galaxy back-lighting a sectional slice the exoplanetary debris system (EDS) with a 2D grid of multiple sight-lines through the nearly face-on disk over time. These measures (the only opportunity for such in remaining HST lifetime) will uniquely provide unambiguous extinction/optical depth constraints to better elucidate the physical properties of the debris particles in this otherwise well studied EDS. With these and prior data we will: (a) disambiguate inferred particle spatial, size, and mass density distributions otherwise conflated with debris material optical property dependencies, (b) better constrain the posited pathways for planetary debris dust production mechanisms in EDSs (e.g., catastrophic collisions of parent bodies, dust-production cascades, cratering events, etc.) and (c) search for and discriminated between "clumps ", "bumps ", and "clouds" of collisional debris of varying particle (and mass) densities. This investigation was enabled in forethought by mapping the galaxy surface brightness out-of-transit in a comprehensive 2011 precursor study (HST GO/12228) using exactly the same STIS instrumental configuration with multi-roll PSF template subtracted coronagraphy we propose for the upcoming ring transit opportunity.
- Pub Date:
- June 2016