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Astron. Astrophys. 350, L27-L30 (1999)

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5. Conclusions

Sakurai's object is undergoing a very late Helium shell flash, the first such event that can be observed with modern instrumentation. ISO has provided essential data through the monitoring (one full year) of the mid-IR region enabling us to demonstrate that significant mass loss is associated with such an event. We have found that the freshly formed dust cooled over time and derived a variable mass loss rate of a few 10-7 M[FORMULA]/year, a typical value for AGB stars. This gives further credibility to the notion that final Helium flash stars return to the AGB retracing their own history (born-again scenario). Monitoring in all accessible wavelength regions will remain absolutely vital in order to follow the fast-paced evolution of the object. Ground-based infrared observations of Sakurai's object will be indispensible to record the evolution of the dust, even more so due to the current faintness in the optical. To improve quantitative insight more sophisticated modeling is required. One important improvement will be to take properly into account the dust chemistry and variable mass loss rate.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: October 4, 1999