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Astron. Astrophys. 363, 629-639 (2000)

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The origin of silicate carbon stars: ISO/SWS observation of V778 Cygni *

I. Yamamura 1,2, C. Dominik 1, T. de Jong 3,1, L.B.F.M. Waters 1,4 and F.J. Molster 1

1 University of Amsterdam, Astronomical Institute `Anton Pannekoek', Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Yoshino-dai 3-1-1, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 229-8510, Japan
3 SRON-Utrecht, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
4 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium

Received 6 March 2000 / Accepted 15 September 2000


The origin of silicate carbon stars has been a mystery ever since their discovery. We discuss here a full grating spectrum between 2.4 and 45 µm of the silicate carbon star V778 Cyg obtained by the ISO/SWS. The spectrum, taken about 14 years after the IRAS LRS observation, confirms the complex nature of the object. The spectrum is clearly divided into a short wavelength ([FORMULA] µm), carbon-rich part and long-wavelength, oxygen-rich part. No obvious change of the 10 and 18 µm silicate features is observed between IRAS and ISO spectra, indicating that the silicate dust is in a steady structure. The 2.7 µm H2O band and the 15 µm CO2 bands are tentatively detected. The near-infrared part of the spectrum indicates that the present-day mass-loss rate is very low. The silicate features can only be fitted by optically thin dust emission from sub-micron size grains. The total oxygen-rich dust mass seen at infrared wavelengths is 2-10[FORMULA] [FORMULA], of which 3-50[FORMULA] [FORMULA] is warm (300-600 K). If the dust is heated by radiation from the central star, the dust should be located as close as about 12 stellar radii from the star. We suggest that the dust responsible for the emission features is in a steady outflow from the system. We show that the dust cannot be located in a circum-binary disk, but is stored in a disk around the companion star during the previous O-rich mass-loss phase. The duration of silicate emission is estimated as [FORMULA] yr. It is compatible with the fact that not all J-type carbon stars show silicate emission. The evolution of the central star and formation of the disk in AGB binary systems largely depends on the orbital separation. V778 Cyg and other "IRAS discovered" silicate carbon stars probably have wide orbits. In such a case, a disk is formed around the companion. Close-binary systems such as the Red Rectangle form massive equatorial O-rich disks, and the evolution of the central star is largely influenced by the binarity.

Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB – stars: carbon – stars: circumstellar matter – stars: individual: V778 Cyg – infrared: stars

* Based on observations 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. The SWS is a joint project of SRON and MPE.

Send offprint requests to: I. Yamamura (yamamura@ir.isas.ac.jp)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: December 11, 2000