EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 397, Number 3, January III 2003
Page(s) L17 - L21
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021782


A&A 397, L17-L21 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021782

Letter

The H I emission profile of RS Cnc

E. Gérard1 and T. Le Bertre2

1  GEPI, FRE 2459, Observatoire de Paris, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
2  LERMA, FRE 2460, Observatoire de Paris, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France

(Received 23 October 2002 / Accepted 2 December 2002 )

Abstract
The H I line at 21 cm has been detected in the direction of the S-type AGB star RS Cnc with the Nançay Radio Telescope (NRT). The profile is composite and similar to the CO rotational line profiles. It is composed of a narrow rectangular component overimposed on a wider Gaussian one, both centred on the stellar radial velocity. The narrow component has a width of 4 km s -1 and is unresolved (with the NRT beam size of  $4\arcmin$ in  $\alpha$). The Gaussian component has a width (FWHM) of 12 km s -1 and seems resolved by the NRT. These components trace at least 2 different episodes of mass loss by RS Cnc. We argue that the atomic hydrogen responsible for the narrow rectangular profile was likely formed in the stellar atmosphere which could thus be devoid of molecular hydrogen, although we cannot strictly exclude that up to 25% may have been produced by photodissociation of H 2. As predicted 20 years ago by Glassgold & Huggins, such a situation should be common to giants with stellar effective temperature larger than 2500 K. This property is relevant to the atmospheric structure of these sources and probably also to the characteristics of their winds.


Key words: stars: circumstellar matter -- stars: mass-loss -- stars: individual: RS Cnc -- stars: AGB and post-AGB -- radio lines: stars

Offprint request: E. Gérard, Eric.Gerard@obspm.fr

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