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R.H.M. Voors 1,2,3,
L.B.F.M. Waters 3,4,
A. de Koter 3,
J. Bouwman 3,
P.W. Morris 1,3,
M.J. Barlow 5,
R.J. Sylvester 5,
N.R. Trams 6 and
H.J.G.L.M. Lamers 2,1
Received 10 March 1999 / Accepted 10 January 2000
We present ground-based infrared imaging and ISO spectroscopy of the luminous blue variables Wra 751 and AG Car. The images show in both cases a detached shell with a roughly circular distribution of emission. The infrared images of AG Car coincide very well with the optical images. The optical (H) image of Wra 751 is different from the infrared image; the H nebula is suggested to be a scattering nebula containing cold dust particles.
Fitting both the images and the spectra consistently with a 1-D radiative transfer model, we derive properties of their dust shells. Wra 751 is surrounded by a dust shell with inner and outer radii of 0.17 and 0.34 pc respectively and a dust mass of 0.017 . The dust shell of AG Car has inner and outer radii of 0.37 and 0.81 pc respectively and a total dust mass of 0.25 . Dust mass-loss rates during the formation of the shells are 2.7 and 3.4 yr-1, respectively. The total dust mass and hence the derived dust mass-loss rates are uncertain by at least a factor of two. For AG Car, the derived dust mass and mass-loss rate are higher than previous estimates. This is mainly caused by the fact that a contribution of very large grains ( 10 µm) is needed to explain the flux levels at longer wavelengths.
Dust models for both objects fail to explain the flux shortward of 15 to 20 µm: a population of small warm grains, not in thermal equilibrium with the central star is necessary to explain this excess. Similarities between dust shells around Wolf-Rayet stars and Wra 751 and AG Car (mass, grain size population, morphology) suggest a similar formation history and imply an evolutionary connection. A similar connection with red supergiants is suggested on the basis of the dust composition and derived time-averaged mass-loss rates.
Key words: stars: circumstellar matter stars: evolution stars: individual: Wra 751, AG Car stars: mass-loss
* based on observations obtained with ISO, an ESA project with instruments funded by ESA Member states (especially the PI countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) with the participation of ISAS and NASA
Send offprint requests to: L.B.F.M. Waters: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online publication: April 10, 2000