The study of evolved stars with ALMA
Journal article, 2008
Intense mass loss occurs for low- and intermediate-mass stars on the asymptotic giant branch (AGB), and for the higher mass (greater than or similar to 8 M-circle dot) stars during their red supergiant evolution. These winds affect the evolution of the stars profoundly, creates circumstellar envelopes of gas and dust, as well as enrich the interstellar medium with heavy elements and grain particles. The mass loss characteristics are well-studied, but the basic processes are still not understood in detail, and the mass-loss rate of an individual star cannot be derived from first principles. These objects also provide us with fascinating systems, in which intricate interplays between various physical and chemical processes take place, and their relative simplicity in terms of geometry, density distribution, and kinematics makes them excellent astrophysical laboratories. The review concentrates on the aspects of AGB stars and their mass loss which are of particular interest in connection with ALMA.
Asymptotic giant branch stars