We have obtained Spitzer Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) and Multiband Infrared Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS) observations of a sample of classical Cepheids both to derive infrared Leavitt Laws (Period-Luminosity Relations) and to look for evidence of mass loss in the spectral energy distributions. The MIPS 24 and 70 micron images of Delta Cep were particularly striking, since they show an arc of emission offset about an arcmin from Delta Cep. The emission is shaped like a bow shock and isaligned with the space motion of the Cepheid, implying it is physically related to the star. Bow shock structures of this kind can be formed when ram pressure of the ambient ISM balances the wind from a mass-losing star, raising the intriguing possibility that delta Cep is undergoing mass-loss during the Cepheid phase. Circumstellar emission is not a general feature of our Cepheid observations, but 2 unusual circumstances may make it visible around Delta Cep. If the Cepheid was already surrounded by interstellar matter, mass loss from the star could have created the bow shock. Second, Delta Cep has a physical companion 40" to the South, HD 213317, itself a binary. This B7-8 III-IV star is hot enough that it may produce infrared emission by heating dust within the ejected material. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under NASA contract 1407. P. B. and D. W. both acknowledge research support through Discovery Grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. N. R. E. acknowledges support from the Chandra X-Ray Center grant NAS8-03060.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #216
- Pub Date:
- May 2010