Year of Publication

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Moshe Elitzur

Abstract

I have developed a new general-purpose deterministic 2D radiative transfer code for astrophysical dusty environments named LELUYA (www.leluya.org). It can provide the solution to an arbitrary axially symmetric multi-grain dust distribution around an arbitrary heating source. By employing a new numerical method, the implemented algorithm automatically traces the dust density and optical depth gradients, creating the optimal unstructured triangular grid. The radiative transfer equation includes dust scattering, absorption and emission. Unique to LELUYA is also its ability to self-consistently reshape the sublimation/condensation dust cavity around the source to accommodate for the anisotropic diffuse radiation. LELUYAs capabilities are demonstrated in the study of the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star IRC+10011. The stellar winds emanating from AGB stars are mostly spherically symmetric, but they evolve into largely asymmetric planetary nebulae during later evolutionary phases. The initiation of this symmetry breaking process is still unexplained. IRC+10011 represents a rare example of a clearly visible asymmetry in high-resolution near-infrared images of the circumstellar dusty AGB wind. LELUYA shows that this asymmetry is produced by two bipolar cones with 1/r0.5 density profile, imbedded in the standard 1/r2 dusty wind profile. The cones are still breaking though the 1/r2 wind, suggesting they are driven by bipolar jets. They are about 200 years old, thus a very recent episode in the final phase of AGB evolution before turning into a proto-planetary nebula, where the jets finally break out from the confining spherical wind. IRC+10011 provides the earliest example of this symmetry breaking thus far.

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