The ALMA detection of CO rotational line emission in AGB stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud

M A T Groenewegen, W. H. T. Vlemmings, P. Marigo , G C Sloan, L Decin, M W Feast, S. R. Goldman, K Justtanont, F Kerschbaum, M. Matsuura, Iain Mcdonald, H. Olofsson, R Sahai, J Th.Van Loon, P R Wood, Albert Zijlstra, J Bernard-Salas, M L Boyer, L Guzman-Ramirez, O. C. JonesE Lagadec, M Meixner, M G Rawlings, S Srinivasan

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    Abstract

    Context. Low- and intermediate-mass stars lose most of their stellar mass at the end of their lives on the asymptotic giant branch
    (AGB). Determining gas and dust mass-loss rates (MLRs) is important in quantifying the contribution of evolved stars to the enrichment
    of the interstellar medium.
    Aims. Attempt to, for the first time, spectrally resolve CO thermal line emission in a small sample of AGB stars in the LargeMagellanic
    Cloud.
    Methods. The Atacama Large Millimeter Array was used to observe 2 OH/IR stars and 4 carbon stars in the LMC in the CO J= 2-1
    line.
    Results. We present the first measurement of expansion velocities in extragalactic carbon stars. All four C-stars are detected and wind
    expansion velocities and stellar velocities are directly measured. Mass-loss rates are derived from modelling the spectral energy distribution
    and Spitzer/IRS spectrum with the DUSTY code. Gas-to-dust ratios are derived that make the predicted velocities agree with
    the observed ones. The expansion velocities and MLRs are compared to a Galactic sample of well-studied relatively low MLRs stars
    supplemented with “extreme” C-stars that have properties more similar to the LMC targets. Gas MLRs derived from a simple formula
    are significantly smaller than derived from the dust modelling, indicating an order of magnitude underestimate of the estimated CO
    abundance, time-variable mass loss, or that the CO intensities in LMC stars are lower than predicted by the formula derived for
    Galactic objects. This could be related to a stronger interstellar radiation field in the LMC.
    Conclusions. Although the LMC sample is small and the comparison to Galactic stars is non-trivial because of uncertainties in
    their distances (hence luminosities) it appears that for C stars the wind expansion velocities in the LMC are lower than in the solar
    neighbourhood, while the MLRs appear similar. This is in agreement with dynamical dust-driven wind models.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
    Volume596
    Early online date29 Nov 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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