Exploring wind-driving dust species in cool luminous giants
II. Constraints from photometry of M-type AGB stars
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Division of Astronomy and Space
PO Box 516,
2 University of Vienna, Department of Astrophysics, Türkenschanzstraße 17, 1180 Wien, Austria
Accepted: 20 February 2013
Context. The heavy mass loss observed in evolved asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars is usually attributed to a two-stage process: atmospheric levitation by pulsation-induced shock waves, followed by radiative acceleration of newly formed dust grains. The dust transfers momentum to the surrounding gas through collisions and thereby triggers a general outflow. Radiation-hydrodynamical models of M-type AGB stars suggest that these winds can be driven by photon scattering – in contrast to absorption – on Fe-free silicate grains of sizes 0.1–1 μm.
Aims. In this paper we study photometric constraints for wind-driving dust species in M-type AGB stars, as part of an ongoing effort to identify likely candidates among the grain materials observed in circumstellar envelopes.
Methods. To investigate the scenario of stellar winds driven by photon scattering on dust, and to explore how different optical and chemical properties of wind-driving dust species affect photometry we focus on two sets of dynamical models atmospheres: (i) models using a detailed description for the growth of Mg2SiO4 grains, taking into account both scattering and absorption cross-sections when calculating the radiative acceleration; and (ii) models using a parameterized dust description, constructed to represent different chemical and optical dust properties. By comparing synthetic photometry from these two sets of models to observations of M-type AGB stars we can provide constraints on the properties of wind-driving dust species.
Results. Photometry from wind models with a detailed description for the growth of Mg2SiO4 grains reproduces well both the values and the time-dependent behavior of observations of M-type AGB stars, providing further support for the scenario of winds driven by photon scattering on dust. The photometry from the models with a parameterized dust description suggests that wind-drivers need to have a low absorption cross-section in the visual and near-IR to reproduce the time-dependent behavior, i.e. small variations in (J – K) and spanning a larger range in (V – K). This places constraints on the optical and chemical properties of the wind-driving dust species.
Conclusions. To reproduce the observed photometric variations in (V – K) and (J – K) both detailed and parameterized models suggest that the wind-driving dust materials have to be quite transparent in the visual and near-IR. Consequently, strong candidates for outflows driven by photon scattering on dust grains are Mg2SiO4, MgSiO3, and potentially SiO2.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: late-type / stars: mass-loss / stars: winds, outflows / stars: atmospheres / circumstellar matter
© ESO, 2013