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Paper: Probing Dust Formation Around Evolved Stars with Near-Infrared Interferometry
Volume: 487, Resolving The Future Of Astronomy With Long-Baseline Interferometry
Page: 371
Authors: Sargent, B.; Srinivasan, S.; Riebel, D.; Meixner, M.
Abstract: Near-infrared interferometry holds great promise for advancing our understanding of the formation of dust around evolved stars. For example, the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI), which will be an optical/near-infrared interferometer with down to submilliarcsecond resolution, includes studying stellar mass loss as being of interest to its Key Science Mission. With facilities like MROI, many questions relating to the formation of dust around evolved stars may be probed. How close to an evolved star such as an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) or red supergiant (RSG) star does a dust grain form? Over what temperature ranges will such dust form? How does dust formation temperature and distance from star change as a function of the dust composition (carbonaceous versus oxygen-rich)? What are the ranges of evolved star dust shell geometries, and does dust shell geometry for AGB and RSG stars correlate with dust composition, similar to the correlation seen for planetary nebula outflows? At what point does the AGB star become a post-AGB star, when dust formation ends and the dust shell detaches? Currently we are conducting studies of evolved star mass loss in the Large Magellanic Cloud using photometry from the Surveying the Agents of a Galaxy's Evolution (SAGE; PI: M. Meixner) Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy program. We model this mass loss using the radiative transfer program 2Dust to create our Grid of Red supergiant and Asymptotic giant branch ModelS (GRAMS). For simplicity, we assume spherical symmetry, but 2Dust does have the capability to model axisymmetric, non-spherically-symmetric dust shell geometries. 2Dust can also generate images of models at specified wavelengths. We discuss possible connections of our GRAMS modeling using 2Dust of SAGE data of evolved stars in the LMC and also other data on evolved stars in the Milky Way's Galactic Bulge to near-infrared interferometric studies of such stars. By understanding the origins of dust around evolved stars, we may learn more about the later parts of the life of stardust; e.g., its residence in the interstellar medium, its time spent in molecular clouds, and its inclusion into solid bodies in future planetary systems.
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