ALMA Observations of Anisotropic Dust Mass Loss around VY CMa
Paper i proceeding, 2015
We present high resolution ALMA Science Verification data of the continuum emission around the highly evolved oxygen-rich red supergiant VY CMa. These data enable us to study the dust in its inner circumstellar environment at a spatial resolution of 129 mas at 321 GHz and 59 mas at 658 GHz, thus allowing us to trace dust on spatial scales down to 11 R-star (71 AU). Two prominent dust components are detected and resolved. We find that at least 17% of the dust mass around VY CMa is located in clumps ejected within a more quiescent roughly spherical stellar wind, with a quiescent dust mass loss rate of 5 x 10(-6) M-circle dot yr(-1). The anisotropic morphology of the dust indicates a continuous, directed mass loss over a few decades, suggesting that this mass loss cannot be driven by large convection cells alone.