Strong variable ultraviolet emission from y gem: accretion activity in an asymptotic giant branch star with a binary companion?



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Sahai, Raghvendra and Neill, James D. and Gil de Paz, Armando and Sánchez Contreras, Carmen (2011) Strong variable ultraviolet emission from y gem: accretion activity in an asymptotic giant branch star with a binary companion? Astrophysical journal letters, 740 (2). ISSN 2041-8205

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Binarity is believed to dramatically affect the history and geometry of mass loss in asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and post-AGB stars, but observational evidence of binarity is sorely lacking. As part of a project to look for hot binary companions to cool AGB stars using the Galaxy Evolution Explorer archive, we have discovered a late-M star, Y Gem, to be a source of strong and variable UV emission. Y Gem is a prime example of the success of our technique of UV imaging of AGB stars in order to search for binary companions. Y Gem's large and variable UV flux makes it one of the most prominent examples of a late-AGB star with a mass accreting binary companion. The UV emission is most likely due to emission associated with accretion activity and a disk around a main-sequence companion star. The physical mechanism generating the UV emission is extremely energetic, with an integrated luminosity of a few × L_☉ at its peak. We also find weak CO J = 2-1 emission from Y Gem with a very narrow line profile (FWHM of 3.4 km s^–1). Such a narrow line is unlikely to arise in an outflow and is consistent with emission from an orbiting, molecular reservoir of radius 300 AU. Y Gem may be the progenitor of the class of post-AGB stars which are binaries and possess disks but no outflows.

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© 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We thank the staff of the Arizona Radio Observatory for granting us observing time. We thank Noam Soker and Joel Kastner for their valuable comments on an earlier version of this Letter. R.S.'s contribution to the research described here was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Financial support was provided by NASA through a Long Term Space Astrophysics and GALEX GO award.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Morphological classification-system; T-tauri stars; Planetary-nebulae; Wind-accretion; Spectra; Catalog; Flare; Shock; CO
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
Sciences > Physics > Astronomy
ID Code:35313
Deposited On:28 Jan 2016 14:35
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 15:05

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