Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 391, 577-586 (2002/8-4)
Probing the mass loss history of carbon stars using CO line and dust continuum emission.
SCHOEIER F.L., RYDE N. and OLOFSSON H.
Abstract (from CDS):
An extensive modelling of CO line emission from the circumstellar envelopes around a number of carbon stars is performed. By combining radio observations and infrared observations obtained by ISO the circumstellar envelope characteristics are probed over a large radial range. In the radiative transfer analysis the observational data are consistently reproduced assuming a spherically symmetric and smooth wind expanding at a constant velocity. The combined data set gives better determined envelope parameters, and puts constraints on the mass loss history of these carbon stars. The importance of dust in the excitation of CO is addressed using a radiative transfer analysis of the observed continuum emission, and it is found to have only minor effects on the derived line intensities. The analysis of the dust emission also puts further constraints on the mass loss rate history. The stars presented here are not likely to have experienced any drastic long-term mass loss rate modulations, at least less than a factor of ∼5, over the past thousands of years. Only three, out of nine, carbon stars were observed long enough by ISO to allow a detection of CO far-infrared rotational lines.