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Astron. Astrophys. 336, 648-653 (1998)

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High-resolution infrared imaging of the Red Rectangle nebula *

D. Mékarnia 1, D. Rouan 2, E. Tessier 3, C. Dougados 3 and J. Lefèvre 1

1 Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Département Fresnel, UMR CNRS 6528, B.P. 4229, F-06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
2 Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, Département Spatial, URA CNRS 325, F-92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France
3 Observatoire de Grenoble, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53X, F-38041 Grenoble Cedex, France

Received 4 April 1997 / Accepted 27 May 1998

Abstract

We present the results of high angular resolution observations of the Red Rectangle nebula in the K(2.2 µm), L'(3.87 µm), M(4.75 µm) infrared bands and in the unidentified infrared (UIR) emission feature at 3.3 µm. The results confirm earlier near-infrared observations and show, with a better spatial resolution, that the bipolar structure of the object is still present very close to the core of the system at these wavelengths. The core of nebula is partially resolved in the K band and at 3.3 µm. We find that the UIR emission at 3.3 µm is enhanced along the cone walls. The images clearly show that the observed nebula is produced by a compact equatorial disk of dust slightly inclined with respect to the line of sight. Large particles are present in the circumstellar environment, probably both in the disk and in the lobes.

Key words: circumstellar matter – stars: evolution – stars: imaging – stars: individual: HD 44179 = Red Rectangle – stars: post-AGB – infrared: stars

* Based on observations collected at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France, and the University of Hawaii.

Send offprint requests to: D. Mékarnia, (mekarnia@obs-nice.fr)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: July 20, 1998
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