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Discovery of water vapour in the carbon star V Cygni from observations with Herschel/HIFI
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2010 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 521, L5- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We report the discovery of water vapour toward the carbon star V Cygni. We have used Herschel's HIFI instrument, in dual beam switch mode, to observe the 1(11)-0(00) para-water transition at 1113.3430 GHz in the upper sideband of the Band 4b receiver. The observed spectral line profile is nearly parabolic, but with a slight asymmetry associated with blueshifted absorption, and the integrated antenna temperature is 1.69 +/- 0.17 K km s(-1). This detection of thermal water vapour emission, carried out as part of a small survey of water in carbon-rich stars, is only the second such detection toward a carbon-rich AGB star, the first having been obtained by the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite toward IRC+ 10216. For an assumed ortho-to-para ratio of 3 for water, the observed line intensity implies a water outflow rate similar to 3-6 x 10(-5) Earth masses per year and a water abundance relative to H-2 of similar to 2-5 x 10(-6). This value is a factor of at least 10(4) larger than the expected photospheric abundance in a carbon-rich environment, and - as in IRC+ 10216 - raises the intriguing possibility that the observed water is produced by the vapourisation of orbiting comets or dwarf planets. However, observations of the single line observed to date do not permit us to place strong constraints upon the spatial distribution or origin of the observed water, but future observations of additional transitions will allow us to determine the inner radius of the H2O-emitting zone, and the H2O ortho-to-para ratio, and thereby to place important constraints upon the origin of the observed water emission.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 521, L5- p.
Keyword [en]
stars: AGB and post-AGB, circumstellar matter, submillimeter: stars
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-51349DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201015080ISI: 000284150900005OAI: diva2:384923
authorCount :28 Available from: 2011-01-10 Created: 2011-01-10 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved

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