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Detection of HCN and C2H2 in ISO Spectra of Oxygen-Rich AGB StarsCool oxygen-rich AGB stars were not expected to have organic molecules like HCN in either their photospheres or circumstellar envelopes (CSEs). The discovery of HCN and CS microwave emission from the shallowest CSE layers of these stars was a considerable surprise and much theoretical effort has been expended in explaining the presence of such organics. To further explore this problem, we have undertaken a systematic search of oxygen-rich AGB stellar spectra in the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) data archive. Our purposes are to find evidence regarding critical molecular species that could be of value in choosing among the proposed theoretical models, to locate spectral features which might give clues to conditions deeper in the CSEs, and to lay the groundwork for future SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) and SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) observations. Using carefully reduced observations, we have detected weak absorption features arising from HCN and possibly C2H2 in a small number of oxygen-rich AGB stars. The most compelling case is NML Cyg which shows both HCN (14 microns) and CO2 (15 microns). VY CMa, a similar star, shows evidence for HCN, but not CO2. Two S-type stars show evidence for the C-H bending transitions: W Aql at 14 microns (HCN) and both W Aql and S Cas at 13.7 microns (C2H2). Both W Aql and S Cas as well as S Lyr, a SC-type star, show 3 micron absorption which may arise from the C-H stretch of HCN and C2H2. In the case of NML Cyg, we show that the HCN and CO2 spectral features are formed in the CSE at temperatures well above those of the outermost CSE layers and derive approximate column densities. In the case of the S-stars, we discuss the evidence for the organic features and their photospheric origin.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Carbon, Duane F. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Chiar, Jean (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Goorvitch, David (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Kwak, Dochan
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Meeting Information
American Astronomical Society Meeting(Seattle, WA)
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NRA-399-20-61-02
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.