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PACS and SPIRE spectroscopy of the red supergiant VY CMa [Letter]

Royer, P., Decin, L., Wesson, R., Barlow, M. J., Polehampton, E. T., Matsuura, Mikako ORCID:, Agúndez, M., Blommaert, J. A. D. L., Cernicharo, J., Cohen, M., Daniel, F., Degroote, P., De Meester, W., Exter, K., Feuchtgruber, H., Gear, Walter Kieran ORCID:, Gomez, Haley Louise ORCID:, Groenewegen, M. A. T., Hargrave, Peter Charles ORCID:, Huygen, R., Imhof, P., Ivison, R. J., Jean, C., Kerschbaum, F., Leeks, S. J., Lim, T., Lombaert, R., Olofsson, G., Posch, T., Regibo, S., Savini, G., Sibthorpe, B., Swinyard, B. M., Vandenbussche, B., Waelkens, C., Witherick, D. K. and Yates, J. A. 2010. PACS and SPIRE spectroscopy of the red supergiant VY CMa [Letter]. Astronomy and Astrophysics 518 , L145. 10.1051/0004-6361/201014641

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With a luminosity >105  and a mass-loss rate of ~2 × 10-4  yr-1, the red supergiant VY CMa truly is a spectacular object. Because of its extreme evolutionary state, it could explode as supernova any time. Studying its circumstellar material, into which the supernova blast will run, provides interesting constraints on supernova explosions and on the rich chemistry taking place in such complex circumstellar envelopes. We have obtained spectroscopy of VY CMa over the full wavelength range offered by the PACS and SPIRE instruments of Herschel, i.e. 55–672 micron. The observations show the spectral fingerprints of more than 900 spectral lines, of which more than half belong to water. In total, we have identified 13 different molecules and some of their isotopologues. A first analysis shows that water is abundantly present, with an ortho-to-para ratio as low as ~1.3:1, and that chemical non-equilibrium processes determine the abundance fractions in the inner envelope.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords: line: identification / stars: chemically peculiar / circumstellar matter / stars: mass-loss / supergiants
Publisher: EDP Sciences
ISSN: 0004-6361
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 08:02

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