An unbiased survey of 500 nearby stars for debris disks: A JCMT legacy program

Matthews, Brenda C.; Greaves, Jane S.; Holland, Wayne S.; Wyatt, Mark C.; Barlow, Michael J.; Bastien, Pierre; Beichman, Chas. A.; Biggs, Andrew; Butner, Harold M.; Dent, William R. F.; Di Francesco, James; Dominik, Carsten; Fissel, Laura; Friberg, Per; Gibb, A. G.; Halpern, Mark; Ivison, R. J.; Jayawardhana, Ray; Jenness, Tim; Johnstone, Doug; Kavelaars, J. J.; Marshall, Jonathan L.; Phillips, Neil; Schieven, Gerald; Snellen, Ignas A. G.; Walker, Helen J.; Ward-Thompson, Derek; Weferling, Bernd; White, Glenn J.; Yates, Jeremy; Zhu, Ming and Craigon, Alison (2007). An unbiased survey of 500 nearby stars for debris disks: A JCMT legacy program. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 119(858) pp. 842–854.



We present the scientific motivation and observing plan for an upcoming detection survey for debris disks using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. The SCUBA-2 Unbiased Nearby Stars (SUNS) survey will observe 500 nearby main-sequence and subgiant stars (100 of each of the A, F, G, K, and M spectral classes) to the 850 mm extragalactic confusion limit to search for evidence of submillimeter excess, an indication of circumstellar material. The survey distance boundaries are 8.6, 16.5, 22, 25, and 45 pc for M, K, G, F, and A stars, respectively, and all targets lie between the declinations of -40 degrees to 80 degrees. In this survey, no star will be rejected based on its inherent properties: binarity, presence of planetary companions, spectral type, or age. The survey will commence in late 2007 and will be executed over 390 hr, reaching 90% completion within 2 years. This will be the first unbiased survey for debris disks since the Infrared Astronomical Satellite. We expect to detect similar to 125 debris disks, including similar to 50 cold disks not detectable in current shorter wavelength surveys. To fully exploit the order of magnitude increase in debris disks detected in the submillimeter, a substantial amount of complementary data will be required, especially at shorter wavelengths, to constrain the temperatures and masses of discovered disks. High-resolution studies will likely be required to resolve many of the disks. Therefore, these systems will be the focus of future observational studies using a variety of observatories, including Herschel, ALMA, and JWST, to characterize their physical properties. For nondetected systems, this survey will set constraints (upper limits) on the amount of circumstellar dust, of typically 200 times the Kuiper Belt mass, but as low as 10 times the Kuiper Belt mass for the nearest stars in the sample (approximate to 2 pc).

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