Aperture synthesis imaging of the carbon AGB star R Sculptoris⋆
Detection of a complex structure and a dominating spot on the stellar disk
1 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Box 516, 75120 Uppsala, Sweden
4 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
5 Department of Astrophysics, University of Vienna, Türkenschanzstraße 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
6 Institut d’Astronomie et d’Astrophysique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CP 226, Boulevard du Triomphe, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
7 Astrophysics Group, Cavendish Laboratory, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK
8 Joint ALMA Office, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
9 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
10 Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, 43992 Onsala, Sweden
11 South African Astronomical Observatory, PO Box 9, Observatory 7935, South Africa
12 Astronomy Department, University of Cape Town, 7701 Rondebosch, South Africa
13 National Institute for Theoretical Physics, Private Bag X1, 7602 Matieland, South Africa
Received: 7 December 2016
Accepted: 31 January 2017
Aims. We present near-infrared interferometry of the carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star R Sculptoris (R Scl).
Methods. We employ medium spectral resolution K-band interferometry obtained with the instrument AMBER at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) and H-band low spectral resolution interferometric imaging observations obtained with the VLTI instrument PIONIER. We compare our data to a recent grid of dynamic atmosphere and wind models. We compare derived fundamental parameters to stellar evolution models.
Results. The visibility data indicate a broadly circular resolved stellar disk with a complex substructure. The observed AMBER squared visibility values show drops at the positions of CO and CN bands, indicating that these lines form in extended layers above the photosphere. The AMBER visibility values are best fit by a model without a wind. The PIONIER data are consistent with the same model. We obtain a Rosseland angular diameter of 8.9 ± 0.3 mas, corresponding to a Rosseland radius of 355 ± 55 R⊙, an effective temperature of 2640 ± 80 K, and a luminosity of log L/L⊙ = 3.74 ± 0.18. These parameters match evolutionary tracks of initial mass 1.5 ± 0.5 M⊙ and current mass 1.3 ± 0.7 M⊙. The reconstructed PIONIER images exhibit a complex structure within the stellar disk including a dominant bright spot located at the western part of the stellar disk. The spot has an H-band peak intensity of 40% to 60% above the average intensity of the limb-darkening-corrected stellar disk. The contrast between the minimum and maximum intensity on the stellar disk is about 1:2.5.
Conclusions. Our observations are broadly consistent with predictions by dynamic atmosphere and wind models, although models with wind appear to have a circumstellar envelope that is too extended compared to our observations. The detected complex structure within the stellar disk is most likely caused by giant convection cells, resulting in large-scale shock fronts, and their effects on clumpy molecule and dust formation seen against the photosphere at distances of 2–3 stellar radii.
Key words: techniques: interferometric / stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: atmospheres / stars: fundamental parameters / stars: mass-loss / stars: individual: R Scl
© ESO, 2017