Letter to the Editor
Mapping the circumstellar SiO maser emission in R Leonis
Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Alfonso XII 3, 28014 Madrid, Spain
3 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Apartado 112, 28803 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Accepted: 4 April 2007
Context.The study of the innermost circumstellar layers around AGB stars is crucial for understanding how these envelopes are formed and evolve. The SiO maser emission occurs at a few stellar radii from the central star, providing direct information on the stellar pulsation and on the chemical and physical properties of these regions. Our data also shed light on several aspects of the SiO maser-pumping theory that are not yet well understood.
Aims.We aim to determine the relative spatial distribution of the 43 GHz and 86 GHz SiO maser lines in the oxygen-rich evolved star R Leo.
Methods.We imaged the 43 GHz (28SiO v = 1, 2 J = 1–0 and 29SiO v = 0 J = 1–0) and 86 GHz (28SiO v = 1 J = 2–1 and 29SiO v = 0 J = 2–1) masing regions with milliarcsecond resolution, by means of very long baseline interferometry.
Results.We confirm previous results obtained in other oxygen-rich envelopes. In particular, when comparing the 43 GHz emitting regions, the 28SiO v = 2 J = 1–0 transition is produced in an inner layer, slightly closer to the central star than the v = 1 J = 1–0. On the other hand, the 86 GHz 28SiO v = 1 J = 2–1 line arises clearly in a farther shell. We have also mapped the 29SiO v = 0 J = 1–0 emission in R Leo for the first time. The already reported discrepancy between the observed distributions of the different maser lines and the theoretical predictions is also found in R Leo.
Key words: radio lines: stars / masers / techniques: interferometric / stars: circumstellar matter / stars: AGB and post-AGB
© ESO, 2007