Herschel/HIFI Observations of IRC+10216: Water Vapor in the Inner Envelope of a Carbon-Rich Asymptotic Giant Branch Star
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2011
We report the results of observations of 10 rotational transitions of water vapor toward the carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star IRC+10216 (CW Leonis), carried out with Herschel's HIFI instrument. Each transition was securely detected by means of observations using the dual beam switch mode of HIFI. The measured line ratios imply that water vapor is present in the inner outflow at small distances (<= few x 10(14) cm) from the star, confirming recent results reported by Decin et al. from observations with Herschel's PACS and SPIRE instruments. This finding definitively rules out the hypothesis that the observed water results from the vaporization of small icy objects in circular orbits. The origin of water within the dense C-rich envelope of IRC+10216 remains poorly understood. We derive upper limits on the (H2O)-O-17/(H2O)-O-16 and (H2O)-O-18/(H2O)-O-16 isotopic abundance ratios of similar to 5 x 10(-3) (3 sigma), providing additional constraints on models for the origin of the water vapor in IRC+10216.
stars: AGB and post-AGB