Letter to the Editor
AMBER and MIDI interferometric observations of the post-AGB binary IRAS 08544-4431: the circumbinary disc resolved*
Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Astronomical Institute “Anton Pannekoek”, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3 Observatorio di Arcetri, Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Large E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Accepted: 18 September 2007
Context.For a large group of post-AGB binaries, the presence of a stable reservoir of dust is postulated. Although this reservoir will influence the final evolution stages of these objects significantly, its actual geometry and structure remains largely unknown.
Aims.We aim at determining the dust morphology of a member of this group, IRAS 08544-4431.
Methods.We use the interferometric capabilities of the AMBER and MIDI instruments, operating in the K and N-band respectively. The high spatial resolution measurements are used in conjunction with the broad band spectral characteristics to determine the dust geometry, based on self consistent 2D radiative transfer models.
Results.We resolve the object in both K and N. Moreover, using the closure phase capabilities of AMBER, we measure in the K-band a large asymmetry of the dusty environment. The interferometric data are clearly incompatible with a spherical outflow. We model the dusty environment with a passive irradiated dusty disc model. Although this model is constrained mainly on the basis of the spectral energy distribution, it reproduces simultaneously the amplitude and closure phase of the visibilities, in both wavelength bands.
Conclusions.Our model of a passive, irradiated disc in equilibrium gives an excellent fit to both the K and N-band visibilities and closure phase. The dust around this evolved binary star is indeed locked in a circumbinary disc with a significant scale height. Grain growth, settling, radial mixing and crystallization are efficient in such an environment. We conclude that the circumbinary disc of this evolved object, is governed by the same physical processes that govern the proto-planetary discs around young stellar objects.
Key words: techniques: interferometric / stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: circumstellar matter / stars: individual: IRAS 08544-4431
© ESO, 2007