The dusty circumstellar disks of B[e] supergiants in the Magellanic clouds.
KASTNER J.H., BUCHANAN C., SAHAI R., FORREST W.J. and SARGENT B.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
To better ascertain the nature of the infrared excesses that are characteristic of B[e] supergiants, we obtained Spitzer IRS spectroscopy and IRAC/MIPS imaging for a sample of nine B[e] supergiant stars in the Magellanic Clouds. We find that all nine stars display mid- to far-IR spectral and spatial characteristics indicative of the presence of circumstellar dust disks. Several of the sample B[e] supergiants display crystalline silicate features in their IRS spectra, consistent with grain processing in long-lived (i.e., orbiting) disks. Although it is possible that these disks are primordial in origin, large shell structures (with size scales of tens of parsec) are associated with five of the nine B[e] supergiants, suggesting that mass loss has provided the circumstellar material now orbiting these stars. Hence–via analogy to the class of post-asymptotic giant branch stars with binary companions and dusty, circumbinary disks–we speculate that B[e] supergiant stars may be post-red supergiants in binary systems with orbiting, circumbinary disks that are derived from post-main-sequence mass loss.