EDP Sciences
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Volume 420, Number 1, June II 2004
Page(s) 217 - 223
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034305

A&A 420, 217-223 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034305

OH spectral evolution of oxygen-rich late-type stars

S. Etoka1 and A. M. Le Squeren2

1  Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL, UK
2  GEPI, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France

(Received 10 September 2003 / Accepted 27 January 2004 )

We investigated the main-line spectral evolution with shell thickness of oxygen rich AGB stars. The study is based on a sample of 30 sources distributed along the IRAS colour-colour diagram. The sources were chosen to trace the Miras with thick shells and the whole range of OH/IR stars. The Miras exhibit a 1665 MHz emission strength comparable to that at 1667 MHz. Even though the Miras of the study have quite thick shells, their spectral characteristics in both main lines attest to a strong heterogeneity in their OH shell with, in particular, the presence of significant turbulence and acceleration. The expansion velocity has been found to be about the same at 1665 and 1667 MHz, taking into account a possible velocity turbulence of 1-2 km s -1 at the location of the main-line maser emission. An increase in the intensity ratio 1667/1665 with shell thickness has been found. A plausible explanation for such a phenomenon is that competitive gain in favour of the 1667 MHz line increases when the shell is getting thicker. There is an evolution in the spectral profile shape with the appearance of a substantial inter-peak signal when the shell is getting thicker. Also, inter-peak components are found and can be as strong as the external standard peaks when the shell is very thick. This trend for an increase of the signal in between the two main peaks is thought to be the result of an increase of the saturation with shell thickness. All sources but two - a Mira and an OH/IR star from the lower part of the colour-colour diagram - are weakly polarized. The strong polarization observed for those two particular objects is thought to be the result of perturbations in their shells.

Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB - stars: circumstellar matter - masers - line: profiles - stars: mass-loss - stars: evolution

Offprint request: S. Etoka, setoka@jb.man.ac.uk

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