Properties of dust in the detached shells around U Antilae, DR Serpentis, and V644 Scorpii
Journal article, 2018
Asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars experience strong mass loss driven by dust particles formed in the upper atmospheres. The dust is released into the interstellar medium, and replenishes galaxies with synthesised material from the star. The dust grains further act as seeds for continued dust growth in the diffuse medium of galaxies. As such, understanding the properties of dust produced during the asymptotic giant branch phase of stellar evolution is important for understanding the evolution of stars and galaxies. Recent observations of the carbon AGB star R Scl have shown that observations at far-infrared and submillimetre wavelengths can effectively constrain the grain sizes in the shell, while the total mass depends on the structure of the grains (solid vs. hollow or fluffy). Aims. We aim to constrain the properties of the dust observed in the submillimetre in the detached shells around the three carbon AGB stars U Ant, DR Ser, and V644 Sco, and to investigate the constraints on the dust masses and grain sizes provided by far-infrared and submm observations. Methods. We observed the carbon AGB stars U Ant, DR Ser, and V644 Sco at 870 μm using LABOCA on APEX. Combined with observations from the optical to far-infrared, we produced dust radiative transfer models of the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) with contributions from the stars, present-day mass-loss and detached shells. We assume spherical, solid dust grains, and test the effect of different total dust masses and grain sizes on the SED, and attempted to consistently reproduce the SEDs from the optical to the submm. Results. We derive dust masses in the shells of a few 10-5Mâ. The best-fit grain radii are comparatively large, and indicate the presence of grains between 0.1 μm and 2 μm. The LABOCA observations suffer from contamination from 12CO (3-2), and hence gives fluxes that are higher than the predicted dust emission at submm wavelengths. We investigate the effect on the best-fitting models by assuming different degrees of contamination and show that far-infrared and submillimetre observations are important to constrain the dust mass and grain sizes in the shells. Conclusions. Spatially resolved observations of the detached shells in the far-infrared and submillimetre effectively constrain the temperatures in the shells, and hence the grain sizes. The dust mass is also constrained by the observations, but additional observations are needed to constrain the structure of the grains.
Stars: AGB and post-AGB