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Modeling the light-travel-time effect on the far-infrared size of IRC +10216Models of the far-infrared emission from the large circumstellar dust envelope surrounding the carbon star IRC +10216 are used to assess the importance of the light-travel-time effect (LTTE) on the observed size of the source. The central star is a long-period variable with an average period of 644 +/- 17 days and a peak-to-peak amplitude of two magnituds, so a large light-travel-time effect is seen at 1 min radius. An attempt is made to use the LTTE to reconcile the discrepancy between the observations of Fazio et al. and Lester et al. regarding the far-infrared source size. This discrepancy is reviewed in light of recent, high-spatial-resolution observations at 11 microns by Danchi et al. We conclude that IRC +10216 has been resolved on the arcminute scale by Fazio et al. Convolution of the model intensity profile at 61 microns with the 60 sec x 90 sec Gaussian beam of Fazio et al. yields an observed source size full width at half maximum (FWHM) that ranges from approximately 67 sec to 75 sec depending on the phase of the star and the assumed distance to the source. Using a simple r(exp -2) dust distribution and the 106 deg phase of the Fazio et al. observations, the LTTE model reaches a peak size of 74.3 sec at a distance of 300 pc. This agrees favorably with the 78 sec x 6 sec size measured by Fazio et al. Finally, a method is outlined for using the LTTE as a distance indicator to IRC +10216 and other stars with extended mass outflows.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Wright, Edward L. (Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA United States)
Baganoff, Frederick K. (Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
February 10, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: Astrophysical Journal, Part 1
Volume: 440
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0004-637X
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits