Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 465, 4482-4499 (2017/March-2)
Do water fountain jets really indicate the onset of the morphological metamorphosis of circumstellar envelopes?
YUNG B.H.K., NAKASHIMA J.-I., HSIA C.-H. and IMAI H.
Abstract (from CDS):
Small-scale bipolar jets with short dynamical ages from 'water-fountain' (WF) sources are regarded as an indication of the onset of circumstellar envelope morphological metamorphosis of intermediate-mass stars. Such a process usually happens at the end of the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase. However, recent studies found that WFs could be AGB stars or even early planetary nebulae. This fact prompted the idea that WFs may not necessarily be objects at the beginning of the morphological transition process. In the present work, we show that WFs could have different envelope morphologies by studying their spectral energy distribution profiles. Some WFs have spherical envelopes that resemble usual AGB stars, while others have aspherical envelopes, which are more common to post-AGB stars. The results imply that WFs may not represent the earliest stage of morphological metamorphosis. We argue further that the dynamical age of a WF jet, which can be calculated from maser proper motions, may not be the real age of the jet. The dynamical age cannot be used to justify the moment when the envelope begins to become aspherical, nor to tell the concrete evolutionary status of the object. A WF jet could be the innermost part of a larger well-developed jet, which is not necessarily a young jet.