Our speckle masking reconstruction of IRC +10 216 shows that the circumstellar dust shell of IRC +10 216 consists of at least five individual dust clouds B to F within a radius of the central star. With pc and cm, the tangential separations of the clouds B, C, and D from the central star correspond to 34 AU (B) and 23 AU (C,D). Time-dependent calculations for circumstellar envelopes show the formation of multiple-shell structures, and the synthetic intensity profiles agree well with the measured ones. The prominent clumpiness of these very inner shells gives evidence for an already inhomogeneous mass loss which may be intimately linked with large-scale surface inhomogeneities possibly induced by giant surface convection-cells.
© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998
Online publication: April 20, 1998