EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 369, Number 1, April I 2001
Page(s) 132 - 141
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010086


A&A 369, 132-141 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010086

Crystallinity versus mass-loss rate in asymptotic giant branch stars

F. Kemper1, L. B. F. M. Waters1, 2, A. de Koter1 and A. G. G. M. Tielens3, 4

1  Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2  Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
3  SRON Laboratory for Space Research, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
4  Kapteijn Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands

(Received 9 October 2000 / Accepted 5 January 2001)

Abstract
Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) observations have shown that O-rich Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars exhibit crystalline silicate features in their spectra only if their mass-loss rate is higher than a certain threshold value. Usually, this is interpreted as evidence that crystalline silicates are not present in the dust shells of low mass-loss rate objects. In this study, radiative transfer calculations have been performed to search for an alternative explanation to the lack of crystalline silicate features in the spectrum of low mass-loss rate AGB stars. It is shown that due to a temperature difference between amorphous and crystalline silicates it is possible to include up to 40% of crystalline silicate material in the circumstellar dust shell, without the spectra showing the characteristic spectral features. Since this implies that low mass-loss rate AGB stars might also form crystalline silicates and deposit them into the Interstellar Medium (ISM), the described observational selection effect may put the process of dust formation around AGB stars and the composition of the predominantly amorphous dust in the Interstellar Medium in a different light. Our model calculations result in a diagnostic tool to determine the crystallinity of an AGB star with a known mass-loss rate.


Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB -- circumstellar matter -- dust, extinction -- infrared: stars -- radiative transfer

Offprint request: F. Kemper, ciska@astro.uva.nl

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