Infrared observations represent a powerful tool in understanding the physical conditions of the circumstellar matter around Be stars. Previous IR studies have been reported by different authors (i.e. Gehrz et al. 1974, Persi et al. 1982, Ashok et al. 1984, and Waters, 1986).
For this purpose, we have undertaken an IR study of 21 southern Be stars including JHKLM photometry, CVF spectra at resolution R=100 around the IR HI emission lines Brγ, Brα, and Pfγ and IRAS data at 12 and 25 microns taken from the Point Sources Catalogue. The IRAS flux densities were corrected following the procedure described in the IRAS Explanatory Supplement.
The near-IR observations were obtained in March 1985 at the lm ESO (La Silla, Chile) telescope, equipped with the InSb Spectrophotometer. In the next section we discuss the nature of the observed IR excesses, and from the measured Brα/Brγ intensity line ratios for three Be stars, we derive the mass-loss rates.