Strong variable ultraviolet emission from y Gem: accretion activity in an asymptotic giant branch star with a binary companion?
SAHAI R., NEILL J.D., GIL DE PAZ A. and SANCHEZ CONTRERAS C.
Abstract (from CDS):
Binarity is believed to dramatically affect the history and geometry of mass loss in asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and post-AGB stars, but observational evidence of binarity is sorely lacking. As part of a project to look for hot binary companions to cool AGB stars using the Galaxy Evolution Explorer archive, we have discovered a late-M star, Y Gem, to be a source of strong and variable UV emission. Y Gem is a prime example of the success of our technique of UV imaging of AGB stars in order to search for binary companions. Y Gem's large and variable UV flux makes it one of the most prominent examples of a late-AGB star with a mass accreting binary companion. The UV emission is most likely due to emission associated with accretion activity and a disk around a main-sequence companion star. The physical mechanism generating the UV emission is extremely energetic, with an integrated luminosity of a fewxL☉ at its peak. We also find weak CO J = 2-1 emission from Y Gem with a very narrow line profile (FWHM of 3.4 km/s). Such a narrow line is unlikely to arise in an outflow and is consistent with emission from an orbiting, molecular reservoir of radius 300 AU. Y Gem may be the progenitor of the class of post-AGB stars which are binaries and possess disks but no outflows.