AU Mic Discovery

Most of my disk discoveries arise from Hubble observations, but I was using an 88-inch telescope on Mauna Kea when I uncovered this edge-on disk around AU Microscopii. AU Mic is a red dwarf very near the Sun and was long known to have circumstellar dust that produced infrared emission. Evidence suggests that it was born at the same time and place as Beta Pictoris, making the two disks "sisters". When I obtained these images in October 2003, only two debris disks around relatively mature stars had been imaged over the past two decades (Beta Pic and HR 4796A). Therefore AU Mic represented an exciting new opportunity to make advances in the field.

Click here for the UC Berkeley press release.