- Infrared spectroscopy of asymptotic giant branch stars in the Galactic bulge
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 443 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
We have selected a homogeneous sample of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars in the Galactic bulge population from the ISOGAL survey. Our target stars cover a wide range of mass-loss rates (∼10−8-10−4 M⊙ yr−1) and differ primarily by their age on the AGB. This homogeneous sample is thus ideally suited to study the dust formation process as a function of age on the AGB. We observed our sample with Spitzer-Infrared Spectrograph, and studied the overall properties of the infrared spectra of these targets. The analysis is complicated by the presence of strong and variable background emission, and the extracted infrared AGB star spectra are affected by interstellar extinction. Several stars in our sample have no detectable dust emission, and we used these ‘naked stars’ to characterize the stellar and molecular contributions to the infrared spectra of our target stars. The resulting dust spectra of our targets do indeed show significant variety in their spectral appearance, pointing to differing dust compositions for the targets. We classify the spectra based on the shape of their 10-μm emission following the scheme by Sloan & Price. We find that the early silicate emission classes associated with oxide dust are generally under-represented in our sample due to extinction effects. We also find a weak 13-μm dust feature in two of our otherwise naked star spectra, suggesting that the carrier of this feature could potentially be the first condensate in the sequence of dust condensation.
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