ATOMIUM: ALMA tracing the origins of molecules in dust forming oxygen rich M-type stars: Motivation, sample, calibration, and initial results

C. A. Gottlieb, L. Decin, A. M. S. Richards, F. De Ceuster, W. Homan, S. H. J. Wallström, T. Danilovich, T. J. Millar, M. Montargès, K. T. Wong, I. Mcdonald, A. Baudry, J. Bolte, E. Cannon, E. De Beck, A. De Koter, I. El Mellah, S. Etoka, D. Gobrecht, M. GrayF. Herpin, M. Jeste, P. Kervella, T. Khouri, E. Lagadec, S. Maes, J. Malfait, K. M. Menten, H. S. P. Müller, B. Pimpanuwat, J. M. C. Plane, R. Sahai, M. Van De Sande, L. B. F. M. Waters, J. Yates, A. Zijlstra

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This overview paper presents ATOMIUM, a Large Programme in Cycle 6 with the Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array (ALMA). The goal of ATOMIUM is to understand the dynamics and the gas phase and dust formation chemistry in the winds of evolved asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and red supergiant (RSG) stars. A more general aim is to identify chemical processes applicable to other astrophysical environments. 17 oxygen-rich AGB and RSG stars spanning a range in (circum)stellar parameters and evolutionary phases were observed in a homogeneous observing strategy allowing for an unambiguous comparison. Data were obtained between 213.83 and 269.71 GHz at high (0.025-0.050 arcsec), medium (0.13-0.24 arcsec), and low (about 1 arcsec) angular resolution. The sensitivity per 1.3 km/s channel was 1.5-5 mJy/beam. 13 molecules were designated as primary molecules in the survey: CO, SiO, AlO, AlOH, TiO, TiO2, HCN, SO, SO2, SiS, CS, H2O, and NaCl. The scientific motivation, survey design, sample properties, data reduction, and an overview of the data products are described; and we highlight one scientific result - the wind kinematics of the ATOMIUM sources. The ATOMIUM sources often have a slow wind acceleration, and a fraction of the gas reaches a velocity which can be up to a factor of two times larger than previously reported terminal velocities assuming isotropic expansion, and the wind kinematic profiles establish that the radial velocity described by the momentum equation for a spherical wind structure cannot capture the complexity of the velocity field. In 15 sources, some molecular transitions other than 12CO v=0 J=2-1 reach a higher outflow velocity, with a spatial emission zone that is often greater than 30 stellar radii, but much less than the extent of CO. Binary interaction with a (sub)stellar companion might (partly) explain the non-monotonic behaviour of the projected velocity field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A94
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date14 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2022


  • astro-ph.SR
  • astro-ph.GA

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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