Forming the first planetary systems: debris around Galactic thick disc stars

C. K. W. Sheehan, J. S. Greaves, G. Bryden, G. H. Rieke, K. Y. L. Su, M. C. Wyatt, C. A. Beichman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The thick disc contains stars formed within the first Gyr of Galactic history, and little is known about their planetary systems. The Spitzer MIPS instrument was used to search 11 of the closest of these old low-metal stars for circumstellar debris, as a signpost that bodies at least as large as planetesimals were formed. A total of 22 thick disc stars has now been observed, after including archival data, but dust is not found in any of the systems. The data rule out a high incidence of debris among star systems from early in the Galaxy's formation. However, some stars of this very old population do host giant planets, at possibly more than the general incidence among low-metal Sun-like stars. As the Solar system contains gas giants but little cometary dust, the thick disc could host analogue systems that formed many Gyr before the Sun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L90-L94
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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