On the metallicity dependence of crystalline silicates in oxygen-rich asymptotic giant branch stars and red supergiants

O. C. Jones, F. Kemper, B. A. Sargent, I. McDonald, C. Gielen, Paul M. Woods, G. C. Sloan, M. L. Boyer, A. A. Zijlstra, G. C. Clayton, K. E. Kraemer, S. Srinivasan, P. M E Ruffle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We investigate the occurrence of crystalline silicates in oxygen-rich evolved stars across a range of metallicities and mass-loss rates. It has been suggested that the crystalline silicate feature strength increases with increasingmass-loss rate, implying a correlation between lattice structure and wind density. To test this, we analyse Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph and Infrared Space Observatory Short Wavelength Spectrometer spectra of 217 oxygen-rich asymptotic giant branch and 98 red supergiants in the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and Galactic globular clusters. These encompass a range of spectral morphologies from the spectrally rich which exhibit a wealth of crystalline and amorphous silicate features to 'naked' (dust-free) stars. We combine spectroscopic and photometric observations with the GRAMS grid of radiative transfer models to derive (dust) mass-loss rates and temperature. We then measure the strength of the crystalline silicate bands at 23, 28 and 33 μm. We detect crystalline silicates in stars with dust mass-loss rates which span over 3 dex, down to rates of ~10-9⊙ yr-1. Detections of crystalline silicates are more prevalent in higher mass-loss rate objects, though the highest mass-loss rate objects do not show the 23-μm feature, possibly due to the low temperature of the forsterite grains or it may indicate that the 23μm band is going into absorption due to high column density. Furthermore, we detect a change in the crystalline silicate mineralogy with metallicity, with enstatite seen increasingly at low metallicity. © 2012 The Authors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3209-3229
    Number of pages20
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2012


    • AGB and post-AGB - circumstellar matter - dust, extinction - Magellanic Clouds - infrared
    • Radiative transfer - stars
    • Stars


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