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Fomalhaut b as a Dust Cloud: Frequent Collisions within the Fomalhaut Debris Disk

Fomalhaut hosts a beautiful debris disk ring and a directly imaged planet candidate, Fomalhaut b, which seems to continually defy expectations.  Originally thought to be a Jovian-mass planet constraining the ring, its unexpected spectral properties and highly eccentric, possibly ring-crossing orbit have completely ruled out that possibility.  In this talk I will discuss some of the many theories to explain the weird properties of Fomalhaut b, including a large circumplanetary ring, a system of irregular satellites, and a recent small body collision.  I will also discuss my recent ongoing work using the Canada-France Ecliptic Plane Survey model of the Kuiper Belt to estimate the likelihood of a recent collision in the Fomalhaut system.

Cody Hall

Samantha Lawler (University of Victoria)

September 26, 2014
14:00 - 15:00