Volume 642, October 2020
|Number of page(s)||21|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||07 October 2020|
A detailed view on the circumstellar environment of the M-type AGB star EP Aquarii
I. High-resolution ALMA and SPHERE observations⋆
Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D B2401, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
2 JBCA, Department Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
3 Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
4 School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Accepted: 13 August 2020
Cool evolved stars are known to be significant contributors to the enrichment of the interstellar medium through their dense and dusty stellar winds. High resolution observations of these outflows have shown them to possess high degrees of morphological complexity. We observed the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star EP Aquarii with ALMA in band 6 and VLT/SPHERE/ZIMPOL in four filters the visible. Both instruments had an angular resolution of 0.025″. These are follow-up observations to the lower-resolution 2016 ALMA analysis of EP Aquarii, which revealed that its wind possesses a nearly face-on, spiral-harbouring equatorial density enhancement, with a nearly pole-on bi-conical outflow. At the base of the spiral, the SiO emission revealed a distinct emission void approximately 0.4″ to the west of the continuum brightness peak, which was proposed to be linked to the presence of a companion. The new ALMA data better resolve the inner wind and reveal that its morphology as observed in CO is consistent with hydrodynamical companion-induced perturbations. Assuming that photodissociation by the UV-field of the companion is responsible for the emission void in SiO, we deduced the spectral properties of the tentative companion from the size of the hole. We conclude that the most probable companion candidate is a white dwarf with a mass between 0.65 and 0.8 M⊙, though a solar-like companion could not be definitively excluded. The radial SiO emission shows periodic, low-amplitude perturbations. We tentatively propose that they could be the consequence of the interaction of the AGB wind with another much closer low-mass companion. The polarised SPHERE/ZIMPOL data show a circular signal surrounding the AGB star with a radius of ∼0.1″. Decreased signal along a PA of 138° suggests that the dust is confined to an inclined ring-like structure, consistent with the previously determined wind morphology.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / circumstellar matter / stars: mass-loss / submillimeter: stars
The reduced images and datacubes are also available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (126.96.36.199) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/642/A93
© ESO 2020
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