Cartoon schematically showing the interaction between the star, its pulsation-varying wind shell and the bow shock. Top: at maximum light and minimum polarization, the dust is accelerated from the photosphere in a dense shell (denoted by the circle) and the mass-loss rate is greatest. The wind shell is denser than the bow shock and dominates the fraction of scattered light. Bottom: at later pulsation phases there is less radiative acceleration and dust is forming in the photosphere while the mass-loss rate is much smaller. The shell formed at the previous flux maximum had expanded and is incorporated into the smaller density bow shock that dominates the observed polarization. The horizontal arrows represent the direction of motion of the star relative to the interstellar medium, while arrows about the stellar-wind bow shock represent the direction of motion of swept-up wind material.
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