Context. The asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase marks the end of the evolution for low- and intermediate-mass stars, which are fundamental contributors to the mass return to the interstellar medium and to the chemical evolution of galaxies. The detailed understanding of mass loss processes is hampered by the poor knowledge of the luminosities and distances of AGB stars.
Aims: In a series of papers we are trying to establish criteria permitting a more quantitative determination of luminosities for the various types of AGB stars, using the infrared (IR) fluxes as a basis. An updated compilation of the mass loss rates is also required, as it is crucial in our studies of the evolutionary properties of these stars. In this paper we concentrate our analysis on the study of the mass loss rates for a sample of galactic S stars.
Methods: We reanalyze the properties of the stellar winds for a sample of galactic MS, S, SC stars with reliable estimates of the distance on the basis of criteria previously determined. We then compare the resulting mass loss rates with those previously obtained for a sample of C-rich AGB stars.
Results: Stellar winds in S stars are on average less efficient than those of C-rich AGB stars of the same luminosity. Near-to-mid infrared colors appear to be crucial in our analysis. They show a good correlation with mass loss rates in particular for the Mira stars. We suggest that the relations between the rates of the stellar winds and both the near-to-mid infrared colors and the periods of variability improve the understanding of the late evolutionary stages of low mass stars and could be the origin of the relation between the rates of the stellar winds and the bolometric magnitudes.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- April 2010
- stars: AGB and post-AGB;
- stars: mass-loss;
- stars: evolution;
- infrared: stars;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 6 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication on A&