We present a new approach aimed at constraining the typical size and optical properties of carbon dust grains in circumstellar envelopes (CSEs) of carbon-rich stars (C-stars) in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). To achieve this goal, we apply our recent dust growth description, coupled with a radiative transfer code to the CSEs of C-stars evolving along the thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch, for which we compute spectra and colours. Then, we compare our modelled colours in the near- and mid-infrared (NIR and MIR) bands with the observed ones, testing different assumptions in our dust scheme and employing several data sets of optical constants for carbon dust available in the literature. Different assumptions adopted in our dust scheme change the typical size of the carbon grains produced. We constrain carbon dust properties by selecting the combination of grain size and optical constants which best reproduce several colours in the NIR and MIR at the same time. The different choices of optical properties and grain size lead to differences in the NIR and MIR colours greater than 2 mag in some cases. We conclude that the complete set of observed NIR and MIR colours are best reproduced by small grains, with sizes between ~0.035 and ~0.12 μm, rather than by large grains between ~0.2 and 0.7 μm. The inability of large grains to reproduce NIR and MIR colours seems independent of the adopted optical data set. We also find a possible trend of the grain size with mass-loss and/or carbon excess in the CSEs of these stars.

Constraining dust properties in circumstellar envelopes of C-stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud: optical constants and grain size of carbon dust

NANNI, AMBRA;MARIGO, PAOLA;ARINGER, BERNHARD;PASTORELLI, GIADA;BLADH, SARA JOHANNA
2016

Abstract

We present a new approach aimed at constraining the typical size and optical properties of carbon dust grains in circumstellar envelopes (CSEs) of carbon-rich stars (C-stars) in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). To achieve this goal, we apply our recent dust growth description, coupled with a radiative transfer code to the CSEs of C-stars evolving along the thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch, for which we compute spectra and colours. Then, we compare our modelled colours in the near- and mid-infrared (NIR and MIR) bands with the observed ones, testing different assumptions in our dust scheme and employing several data sets of optical constants for carbon dust available in the literature. Different assumptions adopted in our dust scheme change the typical size of the carbon grains produced. We constrain carbon dust properties by selecting the combination of grain size and optical constants which best reproduce several colours in the NIR and MIR at the same time. The different choices of optical properties and grain size lead to differences in the NIR and MIR colours greater than 2 mag in some cases. We conclude that the complete set of observed NIR and MIR colours are best reproduced by small grains, with sizes between ~0.035 and ~0.12 μm, rather than by large grains between ~0.2 and 0.7 μm. The inability of large grains to reproduce NIR and MIR colours seems independent of the adopted optical data set. We also find a possible trend of the grain size with mass-loss and/or carbon excess in the CSEs of these stars.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3211472
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