EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 497, Number 1, April I 2009
Page(s) 177 - 181
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200911655
Published online 18 February 2009
A&A 497, 177-181 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200911655

Research Note

CO in OH/IR stars close to the Galactic centre

A. Winnberg1, S. Deguchi2, M. J. Reid3, J. Nakashima4, 5, H. Olofsson1, 6, and H. J. Habing7

1  Onsala Space Observatory, Observatorievägen, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden
    e-mail: anders.winnberg@chalmers.se
2  Nobeyama Radio Observatory, Minamisaku, Nagano 384–1305, Japan
3  Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge MA 02138, USA
4  Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, PO Box 23–141, Taipei 106, Taiwan
5  Department of Physics, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
6  Stockholm Observatory, AlbaNova University Centre, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
7  Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 13 January 2009 / Accepted 9 February 2009

Aims. A pilot project has been carried out to measure circumstellar CO emission from three OH/IR stars close to the Galactic centre. The intention was to find out whether it would be possible to conduct a large-scale survey for mass-loss rates using, for example, the Atacama large millimeter array (ALMA). Such a survey would increase our understanding of the evolution of the Galactic bulge.
Methods. Two millimetre-wave instruments were used: the Nobeyama Millimeter Array at 115 GHz and the Submillimeter Array at 230 GHz. An interferometer is necessary as a “spatial filter” in this region of space because of the confusion with interstellar CO emission.
Results. Towards two of the stars, CO emission was detected with positions and radial velocities coinciding within the statistical errors with the corresponding data of the associated OH sources. However, for one of the stars the line profile is not what one expects for an unresolved expanding circumstellar envelope. We believe that this CO envelope is partially resolved and that this star therefore is a foreground star not belonging to the bulge.
Conclusions. The results of the observations have shown that it is possible to detect line profiles of circumstellar CO from late-type stars both within and in the direction of the Galactic bulge. ALMA will be able to detect CO emission in short integrations with sensitivity sufficient to estimate mass-loss rates from a large number of such stars.

Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB -- stars: circumstellar matter -- stars: mass-loss -- Galaxy: bulge -- radio lines: ISM -- techniques: interferometric

© ESO 2009