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Astron. Astrophys. 321, L39-L42 (1997)

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Letter to the Editor

Discovery of C I around 51 Ophiuchi *

A. Lecavelier des Etangs 1, A. Vidal-Madjar 1, D.E. Backman 2, M. Deleuil 3, A-M. Lagrange 4, J.J. Lissauer 5, 6, R. Ferlet 1, H. Beust 4 and D. Mouillet 4

1 Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS, 98 bis boulevard Arago, F-75014 Paris, France
2 Physics and Astronomy Dept, Franklin and Marshall College, P.O. Box 3003, Lancaster PA 17604, USA
3 Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale, CNRS, BP 8, F-13376 Marseille Cedex 12, France
4 Groupe d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, CERMO BP53X, F-38041 Grenoble Cedex, France
5 Astronomy Program, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, State University of New York, Stony Brook NY 11794, USA
6 Space Science Division, Mail Stop 245-3, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 USA

Received 16 July 1996 / Accepted 21 November 1996


We present the discovery of cold C I in the 51 Oph environment, with a column density of N = [FORMULA] cm-2 and temperature [FORMULA] K. This is the first [FORMULA]  Pic -like star other than [FORMULA]  Pic with simultaneous detection of cold dust and gas. The C I /infrared continuum ratio and consequently the gas/dust ratio are similar to the [FORMULA]  Pic ones. Since C I has a very short lifetime, it must be continuously replenished, probably by molecular gas dissociation. This provides evidence for the presence of evaporating bodies. A new upper limit on CO content is also given.

Key words: stars: 51 Oph – circumstellar matter – planetary systems – line: profiles

* Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (Program GO# 5885), obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy Inc., under NASA Contract NAS5-26555.

Send offprint requests to: A. Lecavelier des Etangs

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 30, 1998