HD 106906: A Case Study for External Perturbations of a Debris Disk [EPA]


Models of debris disk morphology are often focused on the effects of a planet orbiting interior to or within the disk. Nonetheless, an exterior planetary-mass perturber can also excite eccentricities in a debris disk, via Laplace-Lagrange secular perturbations in the coplanar case or Kozai-Lidov perturbations for mutually inclined companions and disks. HD 106906 is an ideal example of such a system, as it harbors a confirmed exterior 11 M_Jup companion at a projected separation of 650 au outside a resolved, asymmetric disk. We use collisional and dynamical simulations to investigate the interactions between the disk and the companion, and to use the disk’s observed morphology to place constraints on the companion’s orbit. We conclude that the disk’s observed morphology is consistent with perturbations from the observed interior companion. Generalizing this result, we suggest that exterior perturbers, as well as interior planets, should be considered when investigating the cause of observed asymmetries in a debris disk.

Read this paper on arXiv…

E. Nesvold, S. Naoz and M. Fitzgerald
Thu, 23 Feb 17

Comments: 14 pages, 4 figures, accepted to ApJ Letters