An ALMA view of SO and SO$_2$ around oxygen-rich AGB stars

T. Danilovich, A. M. S. Richards, L. Decin, M. Van de Sande, C. A. Gottlieb

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We present and analyse SO and SO$_2$, recently observed with high angular resolution and sensitivity in a spectral line survey with ALMA, for two oxygen-rich AGB stars: the low mass-loss rate R Dor and high mass-loss rate IK Tau. We analyse 8 lines of SO detected towards both stars, 78 lines of SO$_2$detected towards R Dor and 52 lines of SO$_2$ detected towards IK Tau. We detect several lines of $^{34}$SO, $^{33}$SO and $^{34}$SO$_2$ towards both stars, and tentatively S$^{18}$O towards R Dor, and hence derive isotopic ratios for these species. The spatially resolved observations show us that the two sulphur oxides are co-located towards R Dor and trace out the same wind structures in the circumstellar envelope (CSE). Much of the emission is well reproduced with a Gaussian abundance distribution spatially centred on the star. Emission from the higher energy levels of SO and SO$_2$ towards R Dor provide evidence in support of a rotating inner region of gas identified in earlier work. The new observations allow us to refine the abundance distribution of SO in IK Tau derived from prior observations with single antennas, and confirm the distribution is shell-like with the peak in the fractional abundance not centred on the star. The confirmation of different types of SO abundance distributions will help fine-tune chemical models and allows for an additional method to discriminate between low and high mass-loss rates for oxygen-rich AGB stars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1323-1347
Number of pages25
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2020


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: individual: IK Tau
  • Stars: individual: R Dor


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