Probing the mass loss history of carbon stars using CO line and dust continuum emission*
Leiden Observatory, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Department of Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712-1083, USA
3 Stockholm Observatory, SCFAB, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Corresponding author: F. L. Schöier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 4 June 2002
An extensive modelling of CO line emission from the circumstellar envelopes around a number of carbon stars is performed. By combining radio observations and infrared observations obtained by ISO the circumstellar envelope characteristics are probed over a large radial range. In the radiative transfer analysis the observational data are consistently reproduced assuming a spherically symmetric and smooth wind expanding at a constant velocity. The combined data set gives better determined envelope parameters, and puts constraints on the mass loss history of these carbon stars. The importance of dust in the excitation of CO is addressed using a radiative transfer analysis of the observed continuum emission, and it is found to have only minor effects on the derived line intensities. The analysis of the dust emission also puts further constraints on the mass loss rate history. The stars presented here are not likely to have experienced any drastic long-term mass loss rate modulations, at least less than a factor of ~5, over the past thousands of years. Only three, out of nine, carbon stars were observed long enough by ISO to allow a detection of CO far-infrared rotational lines.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: circumstellar matter / stars: late-type / stars: mass-loss / infrared: stars
Based on observations with ISO, an ESA project with instruments funded by ESA Member States (especially the PI countries: France, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK) and with the participation of ISAS and NASA. Radio data collected with the OSO 20 m telescope, the SEST, and the JCMT, have also been used.
© ESO, 2002