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The 11 Micron Emissions of Cabon StarsA new classification scheme of the IRAS LRS carbon stars is presented. It comprises the separation of 718 probable carbon stars into 12 distinct self-similar spectral groupings. Continuum temperatures are assigned and range from 470 to 5000 K. Three distinct dust species are identifiable: SiC, alpha:C-H, and MgS. In addition to the narrow 11 + micron emission feature that is commonly attributed to SiC, a broad 11 + micron emission feature, that is correlated with the 8.5 and 7.7 micron features, is found and attributed to alpha:C-H. SiC and alpha:C-H band strengths are found to correlate with the temperature progression among the Classes. We find a spectral sequence of Classes that reflects the carbon star evolutionary sequence of spectral types, or alternatively developmental sequences of grain condensation in carbon-rich circumstellar shells. If decreasing temperature corresponds to increasing evolution, then decreasing temperature corresponds to increasing CIO resulting in increasing amounts of carbon rich dust, namely alpha:C-H. If decreasing the temperature corresponds to a grain condensation sequence, then heterogeneous, or induced nucleation scenarios are supported. SiC grains precede alpha:C-H and form the nuclei for the condensation of the latter material. At still lower temperatures, MgS appears to be quite prevalent. No 11.3 micron PAH features are identified in any of the 718 carbon stars. However, one of the coldest objects, IRAS 15048-5702, and a few others, displays an 11.9 micron emission feature characteristic of laboratory samples of coronene. That feature corresponds to the C-H out of plane deformation mode of aromatic hydrocarbon. This band indicates the presence of unsaturated, sp(sup 3), hydrocarbon bonds that may subsequently evolve into saturated bonds, sp(sup 2), if, and when, the star enters the planetary nebulae phase of stellar evolution. The effusion of hydrogen from the hydrocarbon grain results in the evolution in wavelength of this 11.9 micron emission feature to the 11.3 micron feature.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Goebel, J. H.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Cheeseman, P.
(Research Inst. for Advanced Computer Science Moffett Field, CA United States)
Gerbault, F.
(Sterling Federal Systems, Inc. Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
August 10, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: The Astrophysical Journal
Volume: 449
Issue: 1
Subject Category
Space Radiation
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:111944
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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