Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters dedicated to ISO

Mineralogy of Oxygen-rich dust shells

L.B.F.M. Waters1,2, F.J. Molster1, T. de Jong2,1, D.A. Beintema2, C. Waelkens3, A.C.A. Boogert8, D.R. Boxhoorn2, Th. de Graauw2, S. Drapatz9, H. Feuchtgruber9, R. Genzel9, F.P. Helmich10, A.M. Heras4, R. Huygen3, H. Izumiura7, K. Justtanont2, D.J.M. Kester2, D. Kunze9, F. Lahuis4, H.J.G.L.M. Lamers2, K.J. Leech4, C. Loup6, D. Lutz9, P.W. Morris4, S.D. Price12, P.R. Roelfsema2, A. Salama4, S.G. Schaeidt9, A.G.G.M. Tielens11, N.R. Trams4, E.A. Valentijn2, B. Vandenbussche3, M.E. van den Ancker1, E.F. van Dishoeck10, H. van Winckel3, P.R. Wesselius2, and E.T. Young13


Spectra taken with the Short Wavelength Spectrometer on board of the Infrared Space Observatory of dust shells around evolved oxygen-rich stars reveal the presence of several emission features at wavelengths between 20 and 45 microns. These features have a range of widths and strengths, but are all narrow compared to the well-known amorphous silicate bands at 9.7 and 18 microns. The emission peaks are tentatively identified with crystalline forms of silicates such as pyroxenes and olivine. The emission features tend to be more prominent for objects with cooler dust shells (T  <  300 K) . This may be due to an intrinsic change in optical properties of the dust as it cools, or it may be due to an increase in the fraction of crystalline silicates compared to amorphous forms as the mass loss rate increases. The implications for the physics of dust formation in the outflows of cool giants are briefly discussed.

Infrared: stars - Stars: AGB and post-AGB; mass loss - Planetary Nebulae - Dust

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