Keplerian discs around post-AGB stars: a common phenomenon?
Sterrenkundig Observatorium, Universiteit Gent, Krijgslaan 281 S9, 9000 Gent, Belgium e-mail: stephanie.deruyter@UGent.be
2 Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, K.U. Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
3 Department of Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA
4 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, North Haugh, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS, Scotland
5 Sterrenkundig Instituut “Anton Pannekoek”, Universiteit Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Accepted: 6 November 2005
Aims.We aim at showing that the broad-band SED characteristics of our sample of post-AGB stars are best interpreted, assuming the circumstellar dust is stored in Keplerian rotating passive discs.Methods.We present a homogeneous and systematic study of the Spectral Energy Distributions (SEDs) of a sample of 51 post-AGB objects. The selection criteria to define the whole sample were tuned to cover the broad-band characteristics of known binary post-AGB stars. The whole sample includes 20 dusty RV Tauri stars from the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (GCVS). We supplemented our own Geneva optical photometry with literature data to cover a broad range of fluxes from the UV to the far-IR.Results.All the SEDs display very similar characteristics: a large IR excess with a dust excess starting near the sublimation temperature, irrespective of the effective temperature of the central star. Moreover, when available, the long wavelength fluxes show a black-body slope indicative of the presence of a component of large mm sized grains.Conclusions.We argue that in all systems, gravitationally bound dusty discs are present. The discs must be puffed-up to cover a large opening angle for the central star and we argue that the discs have some similarity with the passive discs detected around young stellar objects. We interpret the presence of a disc to be a signature for binarity of the central object, but this will need confirmation by long-term monitoring of the radial velocities. We argue that dusty RV Tauri stars are those binaries which happen to be in the Population II instability strip.
© ESO, 2006