ALMA spectral line and imaging survey of a low and a high mass-loss rate AGB star between 335 and 362 GHz
Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D,
2 JBCA, Department Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
3 NASA/GSFC, Mail Code 690, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Accepted: 19 December 2017
Context. Low and intermediate mass stars are known to power strong stellar winds when evolving through the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase. Initial mass, luminosity, temperature, and composition determine the pulsation characteristics of the star and the dust species formed in the pulsating photospheric layers. Radiation pressure on these grains triggers the onset of a stellar wind. However, as of today, we still cannot predict the wind mass-loss rates and wind velocities from first principles neither do we know which species are the first to condense in the upper atmospheric regions.
Aims. We aim to characterise the dominant physical, dynamical, and chemical processes in the inner wind region of two archetypical oxygen-rich (C/O < 1) AGB stars, that is, the low mass-loss rate AGB star R Dor (Ṁ ~ 1 × 10−7 M⊙ yr−1) and the high mass-loss rate AGB star IK Tau (Ṁ ~ 5 × 10−6 M⊙ yr−1). The purpose of this study is to observe the key molecular species contributing to the formation of dust grains and to cross-link the observed line brightnesses of several species to the global and local properties of the star and its wind.
Methods. A spectral line and imaging survey of IK Tau and R Dor was made with ALMA between 335 and 362 GHz (band 7) at a spatial resolution of ~150 mas, which corresponds to the locus of the main dust formation region of both targets.
Results. Some two hundred spectral features from 15 molecules (and their isotopologues) were observed, including rotational lines in both the ground and vibrationally excited states (up to v = 5 for SiO). Detected species include the gaseous precursors of dust grains such as SiO, AlO, AlOH, TiO, and TiO2. We present a spectral atlas for both stars and the parameters of all detected spectral features. A clear dichotomy for the sulphur chemistry is seen: while CS, SiS, SO, and SO2 are abundantly present in IK Tau, only SO and SO2 are detected in R Dor. Also other species such as NaCl, NS, AlO, and AlOH display a completely different behaviour. From some selected species, the minor isotopologues can be used to assess the isotopic ratios. The channel maps of many species prove that both large and small-scale inhomogeneities persist in the inner wind of both stars in the form of blobs, arcs, and/or a disk. The high sensitivity of ALMA allows us to spot the impact of these correlated density structures in the spectral line profiles. The spectral lines often display a half width at zero intensity much larger than expected from the terminal velocity, v∞, previously derived for both objects (36 km s−1 versus v∞~ 17.7 km s−1 for IK Tau and 23 km s−1 versus v∞~ 5.5 km s−1 for R Dor). Both a more complex 3D morphology and a more forceful wind acceleration of the (underlying) isotropic wind can explain this trend. The formation of fractal grains in the region beyond ~400 mas can potentially account for the latter scenario. From the continuum map, we deduce a dust mass of ~3.7 × 10−7 M⊙ and ~2 × 10−8 M⊙ for IK Tau and R Dor, respectively.
Conclusions. The observations presented here provide important constraints on the properties of these two oxygen-dominated AGB stellar winds. In particular, the ALMA data prove that both the dynamical and chemical properties are vastly different for this high mass-loss rate (IK Tau) and low mass-loss rate (R Dor) star.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: mass-loss / circumstellar matter / stars: individual: IK Tau / stars: individual: R Dor / astrochemistry
© ESO 2018
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0;), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.