A. de Koter
- The widespread occurrence of water vapor in the circumstellar envelopes of carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch stars: first results from a survey with Herschel/HIFI
- Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Volume | Issue number
- 727 | 2
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
We report the preliminary results of a survey for water vapor in a sample of eight C stars with large mid-IR continuum fluxes: V384 Per, CIT 6, V Hya, Y CVn, IRAS 15194-5115, V Cyg, S Cep, and IRC+40540. This survey, performed using the HIFI instrument on board the Herschel Space Observatory, entailed observations of the lowest transitions of both ortho- and para-water: the 556.936 GHz 110-101 and 1113.343 GHz 111-000 transitions, respectively. Water vapor was unequivocally detected in all eight of the target stars. Prior to this survey, IRC+10216 was the only carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star from which thermal water emissions had been discovered, in that case with the use of the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS). Our results indicate that IRC+10216 is not unusual, except insofar as its proximity to Earth leads to a large line flux that was detectable with SWAS. The water spectral line widths are typically similar to those of CO rotational lines, arguing against the vaporization of a Kuiper Belt analog being the general explanation for water vapor in carbon-rich AGB stars. There is no apparent correlation between the ratio of the integrated water line fluxes to the 6.3 μm continuum flux—a ratio which measures the water outflow rate—and the total mass-loss rate for the stars in our sample.
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