Using recently obtained spatial and spectral line data on the circumstellar envelope of IRC +10216, we have attempted to semi-empirically probe the conditions in this envelope. The computational techniques utilized in our analysis accurately incorporate the effects of geometrical extension and velocity fields on the radiative transfer. We have also attempted to account for the non-equilibrium expected in the vibrational level populations of the gas phase species. Our modelling of the spatial distribution of the dust-produced circumstellar radiation field at 5 (mu)m and 11 (mu)m indicates that dust may be condensing in the circumstellar envelope. The dominant opacity source in our calculations, amorphous carbon, also seems to provide sufficient far-infrared flux. Modelling of the SiC emission feature confirms previous results that suggest a nonuniform particle-shape distribution for the SiC. We can produce multi-component absorption lines, very similar to the 2 (mu)m CO first overtone lines seen in IRC +10216, with continuous distributions of material. The requirement is regions of relatively low acceleration. Modelling of our high resolution, high signal-to-noise observations of the CO fundamental and first overtone indicates a mass -loss rate of 1.5(10('-4)) M(,(CIRCLE))/yr. Our calculations to date indicate that the gas reaches terminal velocity between 10 and 20 R(,*). The envelope mass within 100 R(,*) is 3(10('-2)) M(,(CIRCLE)), with the ratio (by mass) of dust to gas being 10('-3). The assumption of a constant mass-loss rate implies an envelope mass of (TURN)1 M(,(CIRCLE)) within 5000 R(,*). The computational techniques utilized are sufficiently adaptable and economical so that considerable future refinement of the modelling is possible.
- Pub Date:
- March 1982
- Physics: Astronomy and Astrophysics