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Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
Herschel PACS imaging observations of carbon stars show well-resolved spherically symmetric detached shells around several objects. In the case of U Hya the shell is additionally detected in scattered visible light and in the far UV. The remarkable spherical symmetry justifies a straightforward application of 1D models to constrain the properties of the dust envelope, whose modulation in density is a consequence of short epochs of highly increased mass loss and/or wind-wind interaction between outflows of different velocity. We perform dust radiative transfer calculations, first based on a parametrised density distribution, and in a more sophisticated approach on a combination of stationary wind models. The impact of dust properties, particularly grain geometry, on the results is highlighted.
We present ALMA band 7 data of the extreme OH/IR star, OH 26.5+0.6. In addition to lines of CO and its isotopologues, the circumstellar envelope also exhibits a number of emission lines due to metal-containing molecules, e.g., NaCl and KCl. A lack of C18O is expected, but a non-detection of C17O is puzzling given the strengths of H217O in Herschel spectra of the star. However, a line associated with Si17O is detected. We also report a tentative detection of a gas-phase emission line of MgS. The ALMA spectrum of this object reveals intriguing features which may be used to investigate chemical processes and dust formation during a high mass-loss phase.
We present very detailed images of the photosphere of an AGB star obtained with the PIONIER instrument, installed at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). The images show a well defined stellar disc populated by a few convective patterns. Thanks to the high precision of the observations we are able to derive the contrast and granulation horizontal scale of the convective pattern for the first time in a direct way. Such quantities are then compared with scaling relations between granule size, effective temperature, and surface gravity that are predicted by simulations of stellar surface convection.
We present ALMA observations of the circumstellar envelope around the AGB carbon star TX Psc in molecular CO(2–1) emission, and detect a previously unknown detached shell with filamentary structure and elliptical shape. Up to now, all observed detached shells are found around carbon AGB stars and are of remarkable spherical symmetry. The elliptical shell around TX Psc is the first clear exception to that rule, with TX Psc being classified as rather ’’fresh’’ carbon star, that most likely has only experienced very few thermal pulses yet. We investigate and discuss the 3D structure of the CSE and its most likely formation scenarios, as well as the link of this peculiar detached shell to the AGB evolutionary status of TX Psc.
We examined the light variations of AGB variables of the two Local Group members NGC 147 and NGC 185. A photometric monitoring in the i-band was carried out with the Nordic Optical Telescope at La Palma over ≈ 2.5 yrs resulting in roughly 35 data points for the period analysis. We found 513 long period variables (LPVs) in NGC 185 and 213 LPVs in NGC 147. Additional single-epoch Ks-band photometry was obtained for 387 (NGC 185, 323 with periods) and 182 (NGC 147, 147 with periods) LPVs, respectively. For a large fraction of these stars we also have an indication of the atmospheric chemistry (carbon- or oxygen-rich) from narrow band photometry (see Nowotny et al. 2003). The resulting Ks − logP diagrams for both systems show a well populated sequence of fundamental mode pulsators (sequence C, cf. Ita et al. 2004). In NGC 185 we also see a number of LPVs pulsating in the first overtone mode (sequence C’). Interestingly, such stars are missing in NGC 147. We speculate that this lack of shorter period variables in NGC 147 could originate from a difference in the star formation history (SFH) of the two galaxies, with NGC 147 containing a smaller population of intermediate-age stars.
We present time series of observed and synthetic ISO-SWS spectra of oxygen-rich Mira variables covering the wavelength range between 2.36 and 7.75 μm. The calculations are based on new dynamical models, which have been computed with a non-grey radiative transfer taking into account all relevant molecular opacities. It turns out that many features in the ISO spectra of cool long period variables which could not be reproduced within the framework of classical hydrostatic model atmospheres nor with grey dynamical calculations can now be understood without any additional assumptions. This is especially true for the water bands, which dominate the opacity in the infrared range of M-type Miras.
This paper is based on photometry from two different observational approaches. Both are of an explorative character and act as feasibility studies. For the future we plan to use these methods to study Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars in nearby galaxies.
First, we present results on broad-band photometry in Bessell V and I, as well as narrow-band measurements in the Wing 778 nm and 812 nm filters of a galactic globular cluster using the new Austrian Oe-FOSC (Oesterreich Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera), a copy of the ESO Instrument EFOSC mounted on our 1.5 m-telescope.
The second part of the contribution deals with the possibilities of using Gunn I, J and KS measurements originating from the DENIS (DEep Near Infrared Survey of the Southern Sky) project on similar objects. A few southern dwarf spheroidals already observed within DENIS (covering now some 40% of the southern hemisphere) are selected.
We surveyed 0.5 square degrees in the Bar of the LMC with ISOCAM at 4.5 and 12 μm, and with DENIS in the I, J, and Ks bands. Our goal was to build a complete sample of Thermally-Pulsing AGB stars. Here we present the first analysis of 0.14 square degrees. In total we find about 300 TP-AGB stars. Among these TP-AGB stars, 9% are obscured AGB stars (high mass-loss rates); 9 of them were detected by IRAS, and only 1 was previously identified. Their luminosities range from 2 500 to 14 000 L⊙, with a distribution very similar to the one of optical TP-AGB stars (i.e. those with low mass-loss rates). Such a luminosity distribution, as well as the percentage of obscured stars among TP-AGB stars, is in very good agreement with the evolutionary models of Vassiliadis & Wood (1993) if most of the TP-AGB stars that we find have initial masses smaller than 1.5 to 2 M⊙.
We present ISO-SWS spectra for several representative AGB carbon stars obtained at several phases of the pulsational cycle. For stars with significant mass loss we correct the spectra for the dust emission by using DUSTY models. We then compare these corrected data to synthetic spectra based on hydrostatic and dynamical model atmospheres. We also discuss the influence of the fundamental model parameters on the resulting synthetic spectra.
Some years ago, Willems & de Jong (1988) noticed that many carbon stars display an excess of emission at 60 µm and explained it by the presence of a fossil dust shell, containing only cold dust. This detached dust shell would be the result of an interruption of the mass loss, consequence of a thermal pulse. Detached shells around C stars have actually been mapped in the CO lines (Olofsson et al. 1992), and at 60µm (Waters et al. 1994). In 1992, Zijlstra et al. found about 100 M stars displaying an excess of emission at 60 µm, and proposed that interruptions of the mass loss due to thermal pulses is a general phenomenon on the AGB. This assumption is now supported by the theoretical calculations of Vassiliadis & Wood (1993). Here we present a detailed study of the 100 M stars of Zijlstra et al. in order to test the previous assumption.
During the past decade much effort has been spent also on observation and theoretical modelling of AGB stars. However, the Semiregulars have been almost neglected. Kerschbaum & Hron (1992) used GCVS- and IRAS-data to define samples of SRa and SRb stars. These were compared with optical Miras with respect to their pulsational properties, effective temperatures, mass loss rates, luminosities, scale heights and galactic volume densities.
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