A. Mayer

University of Vienna, Wien, Vienna, Austria

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Publications (13)25.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have mapped the CO(3-2) line emission around the Mira AB system at 0.5 resolution using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The CO map shows amazing complexity. The circumstellar gas has been shaped by different dynamical actors during the evolution of the system and several morphological components can be identified. The companion is marginally resolved in continuum emission and is currently at 0.487$\pm$0.006 separation. In the main line component, centered on the stellar velocity, spiral arcs around Mira A are found. The spiral appears to be relatively flat and oriented in the orbital plane. An accretion wake behind the companion is clearly visible and the projected arc separation is of order 5''. In the blue wing of the line emission, offset from the main line, several large ($\sim$5-10''), opposing arcs are found. We tentatively suggest that this structure is created by the wind of Mira B blowing a bubble in the expanding envelope of Mira A.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Context. The Mass loss of Evolved StarS (MESS) sample observed with PACS on board the Herschel Space Observatory revealed that several asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars are surrounded by an asymmetric circumstellar envelope (CSE) whose morphology is most likely caused by the interaction with a stellar companion. The evolution of AGB stars in binary systems plays a crucial role in understanding the formation of asymmetries in planetary nebul{\ae} (PNe), but at present, only a handful of cases are known where the interaction of a companion with the stellar AGB wind is observed. Aims. We probe the environment of the very evolved AGB star $\pi^1$ Gruis on large and small scales to identify the triggers of the observed asymmetries. Methods. Observations made with Herschel/PACS at 70 $\mu$m and 160 $\mu$m picture the large-scale environment of $\pi^1$ Gru. The close surroundings of the star are probed by interferometric observations from the VLTI/AMBER archive. An analysis of the proper motion data of Hipparcos and Tycho-2 together with the Hipparcos Intermediate Astrometric Data help identify the possible cause for the observed asymmetry. Results. The Herschel/PACS images of $\pi^1$ Gru show an elliptical CSE whose properties agree with those derived from a CO map published in the literature. In addition, an arc east of the star is visible at a distance of $38^{\prime\prime}$ from the primary. This arc is most likely part of an Archimedean spiral caused by an already known G0V companion that is orbiting the primary at a projected distance of 460 au with a period of more than 6200 yr. However, the presence of the elliptical CSE, proper motion variations, and geometric modelling of the VLTI/AMBER observations point towards a third component in the system, with an orbital period shorter than 10 yr, orbiting much closer to the primary than the G0V star.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 08/2014; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For the Mass-loss of Evolved StarS (MESS) programme, the unprecedented spatial resolution of the PACS photometer on board the Herschel space observatory was employed to map the dusty environments of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and red supergiant (RSG) stars. Among the morphologically heterogeneous sample, a small fraction of targets is enclosed by spherically symmetric detached envelopes. Based on observations in the 70 {\mu}m and 160 {\mu}m wavelength bands, we investigated the surroundings of the two carbon semiregular variables S Sct and RT Cap, which both show evidence for a history of highly variable mass-loss. S Sct exhibits a bright, spherically symmetric detached shell, 138" in diameter and co-spatial with an already known CO structure. Moreover, weak emission is detected at the outskirts, where the morphology seems indicative of a mild shaping by interaction of the wind with the interstellar medium, which is also supported by the stellar space motion. Two shells are found around RT Cap that were not known so far in either dust emission or from molecular line observations. The inner shell with a diameter of 188" shows an almost immaculate spherical symmetry, while the outer ~5' structure is more irregularly shaped. MoD, a modification of the DUSTY radiative transfer code, was used to model the detached shells. Dust temperatures, shell dust masses, and mass-loss rates are derived for both targets.
    05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: For the Mass-loss of Evolved StarS (MESS) programme, the unprecedented spatial resolution of the PACS photometer on board the Herschel space observatory was employed to map the dusty environments of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and red supergiant (RSG) stars. Among the morphologically heterogeneous sample, a small fraction of targets is enclosed by spherically symmetric detached envelopes. Based on observations in the 70 {\mu}m and 160 {\mu}m wavelength bands, we investigated the surroundings of the two carbon semiregular variables S Sct and RT Cap, which both show evidence for a history of highly variable mass-loss. S Sct exhibits a bright, spherically symmetric detached shell, 138" in diameter and co-spatial with an already known CO structure. Moreover, weak emission is detected at the outskirts, where the morphology seems indicative of a mild shaping by interaction of the wind with the interstellar medium, which is also supported by the stellar space motion. Two shells are found around RT Cap that were not known so far in either dust emission or from molecular line observations. The inner shell with a diameter of 188" shows an almost immaculate spherical symmetry, while the outer ~5' structure is more irregularly shaped. MoD, a modification of the DUSTY radiative transfer code, was used to model the detached shells. Dust temperatures, shell dust masses, and mass-loss rates are derived for both targets.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Observations of 78 Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars and Red Supergiants were carried out with the PACS photometer on-board Herschel as part of the MESS (Mass loss of Evolved StarS) program. For about 60% of these objects, the dusty wind differs from spherically symmetric and reveals a complex morphology. The majority of these asymmetries are caused by a rather simple incident, the interaction of the stellar wind with the interstellar medium. A bow shock is formed in direction of the stellar motion where the two media interact. However, also much more irregular shapes are encountered in the sample. These structures are often related to the binarity of the stellar system. Accreted material by the companion can cause nova outbursts or bipolar outflows which are relatively common. A rather rare encounter are Archimedean spirals that are imprinted in the wind which are now found for a handful of objects, among W Aquilae observed with Herschel and R Sculptoris with ALMA. The most complicated structures in the MESS sample indicate the interplay of multiple interacting influences. A prominent case is o Ceti (Mira). Its exceptionally high space motion produces a strong bow shock and its white dwarf companion drags an Archimedean spiral into the deformed stellar wind bubble and pierces it with a fast bipolar outflow.
    03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Mass loss of Evolved StarS (MESS) sample offers a selection of 78 Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars and Red Supergiants (RSGs) observed with the PACS photometer on-board Herschel at 70 and 160 {\mu}m. For most of these objects, the dusty AGB wind differs from spherical symmetry and the wind shape can be subdivided into four classes. In the present paper we concentrate on the influence of a companion on the morphology of the stellar wind. Literature was searched to find binaries in the MESS sample and these are subsequently linked to their wind-morphology class to assert that the binaries are not distributed equally among the classes. In the second part of the paper we concentrate on the circumstellar environment of the two prominent objects R Aqr and W Aql. Each shows a characteristic signature of a companion interaction with the stellar wind. For the symbiotic star R Aqr, PACS revealed two perfectly opposing arms which in part reflect the previously observed ring-shaped nebula in the optical. However, from the far-IR there is evidence that the emitting region is elliptical rather than circular. The outline of the wind of W Aql seems to follow a large Archimedean spiral formed by the orbit of the companion but also shows strong indications of an interaction with the interstellar medium. The nature of the companion of W Aql was investigated and the magnitude of the orbital period supports the size of the spiral outline.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2013; 549:A69. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Far-infrared Herschel/PACS images at 70 and 160 micron of a sample of 78 Galactic evolved stars are used to study the (dust) emission structures, originating from stellar wind-ISM interaction. In addition, two-fluid hydrodynamical simulations of the coupled gas and dust in wind-ISM interactions are used to compare with the observations. Four distinct classes of wind-ISM interaction (i.e. "fermata", "eyes", "irregular", and "rings") are identified and basic parameters affecting the morphology are discussed. We detect bow shocks for ~40% of the sample and detached rings for ~20%. De-projected stand-off distances (R_0) -- defined as the distance between the central star and the nearest point of the interaction region -- of the detected bow shocks ("fermata" and "eyes") are derived from the PACS images and compared to previous results, model predictions and the simulations. All observed bow shocks have stand-off distances smaller than 1 pc. Observed and theoretical stand-off distances are used together to independently derive the local ISM density. Both theoretical (analytical) models and hydrodynamical simulations give stand-off distances for adopted stellar properties that are in good agreement with the measured de-projected stand-off distance of wind-ISM bow shocks. The possible detection of a bow shock -- for the distance limited sample -- appears to be governed by its physical size as set roughly by the stand-off distance. In particular the star's peculiar space velocity and the density of the ISM appear decisive in detecting emission from bow shocks or detached rings. Tentatively, the "eyes" class objects are associated to (visual) binaries, while the "rings" generally appear not to occur for M-type stars, only for C or S-type objects that have experienced a thermal pulse.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 10/2011; 537. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars X Her and TX Psc have been imaged at 70 and 160 μm with the PACS instrument on-board the Herschel satellite, as part of the large MESS (Mass loss of Evolved StarS) Guaranteed Time Key Program. The images reveal axisymmetric extended structures with their axes oriented along the stars’ space motion. This extended structure very likely originates in the interaction of the wind ejected by the AGB star with the surrounding interstellar medium (ISM). As predicted by former numerical simulations, the detailed structure of the wind-ISM interface depends upon the relative velocity between star+wind and the ISM, which is large for these two stars (56 and 108 km s-1 for TX Psc and X Her, respectively). In both cases, there is a compact blob upstream whose origin is not fully elucidated.
    Why Galaxies Care about AGB Stars II: Shining Examples and Common Inhabitants; 09/2011
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    ABSTRACT: We give an overview of the interaction of several AGB stars with the interstellar medium, as observed with the PACS photometer of Herschel in the framework of the MESS Guaranteed Time Key Programme. In addition to the objects TX Psc and X Her that are discussed in detail by Jorissen et al. (this volume), we present images of o Cet, μ Cep, T Mic, RT Vir, EP Aqr, and θ Aps.
    Why Galaxies Care about AGB Stars II: Shining Examples and Common Inhabitants; 09/2011
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    ABSTRACT: Out of a sample of AGB stars showing detached shells detected by the PACS instrument on-board the Herschel Space Observatory, the case of UX Dra is presented as an example. The derivation of basic parameters is described.
    09/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: The asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars X Her and TX Psc have been imaged at 70 and 160 mum with the PACS instrument onboard the Herschel satellite, as part of the large MESS (Mass loss of Evolved StarS) guaranteed time key program. The images reveal an axisymmetric extended structure with its axis oriented along the space motion of the stars. This extended structure is very likely to be shaped by the interaction of the wind ejected by the AGB star with the surrounding interstellar medium (ISM). As predicted by numerical simulations, the detailed structure of the wind-ISM interface depends upon the relative velocity between star+wind and the ISM, which is large for these two stars (108 and 55 km s-1 for X Her and TX Psc, respectively). In both cases, there is a compact blob upstream whose origin is not fully elucidated, but that could be the signature of some instability in the wind-ISM shock. Deconvolved images of X Her and TX Psc reveal several discrete structures along the outermost filaments, which could be Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices. Finally, TX Psc is surrounded by an almost circular ring (the signature of the termination shock?) that contrasts with the outer, more structured filaments. A similar inner circular structure seems to be present in X Her as well, albeit less clearly. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 08/2011; 532:A135. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars X Her and TX Psc have been imaged at 70 and 160 microns with the PACS instrument onboard the Herschel satellite, as part of the large MESS (Mass loss of Evolved StarS) Guaranteed Time Key Program. The images reveal an axisymmetric extended structure with its axis oriented along the space motion of the stars. This extended structure is very likely to be shaped by the interaction of the wind ejected by the AGB star with the surrounding interstellar medium (ISM). As predicted by numerical simulations, the detailed structure of the wind-ISM interface depends upon the relative velocity between star+wind and the ISM, which is large for these two stars (108 and 55 km/s for X Her and TX Psc, respectively). In both cases, there is a compact blob upstream whose origin is not fully elucidated, but that could be the signature of some instability in the wind-ISM shock. Deconvolved images of X Her and TX Psc reveal several discrete structures along the outermost filaments, which could be Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices. Finally, TX Psc is surrounded by an almost circular ring (the signature of the termination shock?) that contrasts with the outer, more structured filaments. A similar inner circular structure seems to be present in X Her as well, albeit less clearly.
    06/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Herschel's PACS instrument observed the environment of the binary system Mira Ceti in the 70 and 160 micron bands. These images reveal bright structures shaped as five broken arcs and fainter filaments in the ejected material of Mira's primary star. The overall shape of the IR emission around Mira deviates significantly from the expected alignment with Mira's exceptionally high space velocity. The observed broken arcs are neither connected to each other nor are they of a circular shape; they stretch over angular ranges of 80 to 100 degrees. By comparing Herschel and GALEX data, we found evidence for the disruption of the IR arcs by the fast outflow visible in both Halpha and the far UV. Radial intensity profiles are derived, which place the arcs at distances of 6-85" (550 - 8000 AU) from the binary. Mira's IR environment appears to be shaped by the complex interaction of Mira's wind with its companion, the bipolar jet, and the ISM.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 06/2011; 531. · 5.08 Impact Factor