Defense: Companion wind shaping in binaries involving an AGB star

  • Date: –12:00
  • Location: Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1 Å 80101
  • Doctoral student: Lam Doan Duc
  • Organiser: Division of Astronomy and Space Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Contact person: Lam Doan Duc
  • Disputation

Opponent: Dr. Eric Lagadec from Université Côte d’Azur, France

Stars of initial masses between 0.8-8 solar masses will become "asymptotic giant branch" (AGB) stars during the final stages of their evolution. During this phase, the stars are characterized by low velocity and high-density winds. An AGB star can lose a substantial fraction of its mass through the stellar wind and thereby avoid ending up as a supernova explosion. The AGB stars, therefore, play an important role in enriching the interstellar medium (ISM) with chemical elements and in contributing dust and gas to the ISM. The mass-loss rate on the AGB is a decisive parameter for the lifetime of this evolutionary phase and the fate of low- and intermediate-mass stars. An accurate mass-loss-rate estimation provides an important constraint for wind models aimed to better understand the wind-driving mechanism, as well as for stellar evolution.

The stellar wind is driven by radiation pressure on dust grains and blows away dust and gas from the central star. This creates an extended envelope which is expected to be spherical because of the isotropic radiation field of the central star, and the connection between the radiation field and the wind. However, there is growing observational evidence of asymmetrical morphology, e.g., tori, jets, bipolar outflows, in AGB circumstellar envelopes (CSEs). Moreover, proto-planetary nebulae (proto-PNe) and PNe, the next evolutionary phase after the AGB phase, show a wide range of asymmetrical morphologies. In many cases, an embedded binary system has been detected in the gas envelopes. This is pointing to the gravitational effect of the companion as important for the envelope shaping mechanism.

The work that this thesis is based on, studies two interesting examples of (post) AGB stars which show complex morphologies of their CSEs. The S-star π1 Gruis shows a CSE structure consisting of an equatorial low-velocity expanding spiral and a fast bipolar outflow. The circumstellar environment of the post-AGB (or post red giant branch, post-RGB) star HD 101584 shows an equatorial density enhancement and a high-velocity bipolar outflow. Same conclusions are drawn for both cases; that the radiation pressure on the dust cannot support the observed energetic outflows, and that interaction with the companions are proposed to shape the envelopes and accelerate the gas.

The thesis gives a brief introduction on AGB stars and wind shaping mechanisms of AGB CSEs. The thesis also presents the principles of interferometry, the data reduction methods, and the radiative transfer calculations used in the studies. Results from the included papers are also discussed.