Dusty Disks Around Central Stars Of Planetary Nebulae
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Only a few percent of cool, old white dwarfs (WDs) have infrared excesses interpreted as originating in small hot disks due to the infall and destruction of single asteroids that come within the star's Roche limit. Infrared excesses at 24 mu m were also found to derive from the immediate vicinity of younger, hot WDs, most of which are still central stars of planetary nebulae (CSPNe). The incidence of CSPNe with this excess is 18%. The Helix CSPN, with a 24 mu m excess, has been suggested to have a disk formed from collisions of Kuiper belt-like objects (KBOs). In this paper, we have analyzed an additional sample of CSPNe to look for similar infrared excesses. These CSPNe are all members of the PG 1159 class and were chosen because their immediate progenitors are known to often have dusty environments consistent with large dusty disks. We find that, overall, PG 1159 stars do not present such disks more often than other CSPNe, although the statistics (five objects) are poor. We then consider the entire sample of CSPNe with infrared excesses and compare it to the infrared properties of old WDs, as well as cooler post-asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. We conclude with the suggestion that the infrared properties of CSPNe more plausibly derive from AGB-formed disks rather than disks formed via the collision of KBOs, although the latter scenario cannot be ruled out. Finally, there seems to be an association between CSPNe with a 24 mu m excess and confirmed or possible binarity of the central star.