- Dust composition and mass-loss return from the luminous blue variable R71 in the LMC
- Astronomy & Astrophysics
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
Context. We present an analysis of mid- and far-infrared (IR) spectrum and spectral energy distribution (SED) of the luminous blue variable (LBV) R71 in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).
Aims. This work aims to understand the overall contribution of high-mass LBVs to the total dust-mass budget of the interstellar medium (ISM) of the LMC and compare this with the contribution from low-mass asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. As a case study, we analyze the SED of R71.
Methods. We compiled all the available photometric and spectroscopic observational fluxes from various telescopes for a wide wavelength range (0.36-250 μm). We determined the dust composition from the spectroscopic data, and derived the ejected dust mass, dust mass-loss rate, and other dust shell properties by modeling the SED of R71. We noted nine spectral features in the dust shell of R71 by analyzing Spitzer Space Telescope spectroscopic data. Among these, we identified three new crystalline silicate features. We computed our model spectrum by using 3D radiative transfer code MCMax.
Results. Our model calculation shows that dust is dominated by amorphous silicates, with some crystalline silicates, metallic iron, and a very tiny amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules. The presence of both silicates and PAHs indicates that the dust has a mixed chemistry. We derived a dust mass of 0.01 M⊙, from which we arrive at a total ejected mass of ≈5 M⊙. This implies a time-averaged dust mass-loss rate of 2.5 × 10-6 M⊙ yr-1 with an explosion about 4000 years ago. We assume that the other five confirmed dusty LBVs in the LMC loose mass at a similar rate, and estimate the total contribution to the mass budget of the LMC to be ≈10-5 M⊙ yr-1, which is comparable to the contribution by all the AGB stars in the LMC.
Conclusions. Based on our analysis on R71, we speculate that LBVs as a class may be an important dust source in the ISM of the LMC.
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