MERLIN observations of OH/IR stars
Paper in proceedings, 2008
We present MERLIN OH 1612 MHz observations towards 3 OH/IR stars, OH15.7+0.8, OH38.3+1.9 and IRAS 19319+2214. The main objective of the project is to investigate if their complicated OH 1612 MHz spectral properties can be related to the phenomenon of highly time-variable mass loss found towards a handful of carbon stars, where detached shells with an overall spherical symmetry are present. Despite extensive searches, no oxygen-rich star with such a shell has been found in any molecular emission. Based on the MERLIN data however, we find that the circumstellar structure of the three OH/IR stars appears to be more complicated than that of detached shells. Signs of bipolarity in the outflows of OH38.3+1.9 and IRAS 19319+2214 could indicate that these are early post-AGB objects.