Volume 552, April 2013
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Published online||15 March 2013|
Synthetic photometry for carbon-rich giants
III. Tracing the sequence of mass-losing galactic C-type Miras⋆
1 University of Vienna, Department of Astrophysics, Türkenschanzstraße 17, 1180 Wien, Austria
2 INAF – Padova Astronomical Observatory, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Division of Astronomy and Space Physics, Uppsala University, PO Box 516, 75120 Uppsala, Sweden
Received: 4 September 2012
Accepted: 31 January 2013
Late-type giant stars in the evolutionary stage of the asymptotic giant branch increasingly lose mass via comparatively slow but dense stellar winds. Not only do these evolved red giants contribute in this way to the enrichment of the surrounding interstellar medium, but the outflows also have a substantial influence on the spectro-photometric appearance of such objects. In the case of carbon-rich atmospheric chemistries, the developing cool circumstellar envelopes contain dust grains mainly composed of amorphous carbon. With increasing mass-loss rates, this leads to more and more pronounced circumstellar reddening. With the help of model calculations we aim at reproducing the observational photometric findings for a large sample of well-characterised galactic C-type Mira variables losing mass at different rates. We used dynamic model atmospheres, describing the outer layers of C-rich Miras, which are severly affected by dynamic effects. Based on the resulting structures and under the assumptions of chemical equilibrium as well as LTE, we computed synthetic spectra and synthetic broad-band photometry (Johnson-Cousins-Glass BVRIJHKL′M). A set of five representative models with different stellar parameters describes a sequence from less to more evolved objects with steadily increasing mass-loss rates. This allowed us to study the significant influence of circumstellar dust on the spectral energy distributions and the (amplitudes of) lightcurves in different filters. We tested the photometric properties (mean NIR magnitudes, colours, and amplitudes) and other characteristics of the models (mass-loss rates, periods, and bolometric corrections) by comparing these with the corresponding observational data adopted from the literature. Using different kinds of diagrams we illustrate where the models are located in a supposed evolutionary sequence defined by observed C-type Mira samples. Based on comparisons of galactic targets with empirical relations derived for C stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud we discuss the relevance of metallicity and excess carbon (C–O) for the development of dust-driven winds. Having investigated the dynamic model atmospheres from different (mainly photometric) perspectives, we conclude that our modelling approach (meaning the combination of numerical method and a suitable choice of model parameters) is able to describe C-rich long-period variables over a wide range of mass-loss rates, i.e., from moderately pulsating objects without any dusty wind to highly dust-enshrouded Carbon Miras. Thus, we can trace the observed sequence of C-type Miras, which is mainly determined by the mass loss.
Key words: circumstellar matter / stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: atmospheres / stars: carbon / stars: variables: general / stars: mass-loss
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2013
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