Multiepoch Optical Images of IRC+10216 Tell about the Central Star and the Adjacent Environment

Hyosun Kim, Ho Gyu Lee, Youichi Ohyama, Ji Hoon Kim, Peter Scicluna, You Hua Chu, Nicolas Mauron, Toshiya Ueta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Six images of IRC+10216 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope at three epochs in 2001, 2011, and 2016 are compared in the rest frame of the central carbon star. An accurate astrometry has been achieved with the help of Gaia Data Release 2. The positions of the carbon star in the individual epochs are determined using its known proper motion, defining the rest frame of the star. In 2016, a local brightness peak with compact and red nature is detected at the stellar position. A comparison of the color maps between 2016 and 2011 epochs reveals that the reddest spot moved along with the star, suggesting a possibility of it being the dusty material surrounding the carbon star. The relatively red, ambient region is distributed in an Ω shape and corresponds well to the dusty disk previously suggested based on near-infrared polarization observations. In a larger scale, differential proper motion of multiple ring-like patterns in the rest frame of the star is used to derive the average expansion velocity of transverse wind components, resulting in ∼12.5 km s-1(d/123 pc), where d is the distance to IRC+10216. Three-dimensional geometry is implied from its comparison with the line-of-sight wind velocity determined from half widths of submillimeter emission line profiles of abundant molecules. Uneven temporal variations in brightness for different searchlight beams and anisotropic distribution of the extended halo are revisited in the context of the stellar light illumination through a porous envelope with postulated longer-term variations for a period of ≲10 yr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiepoch Optical Images of IRC+10216 Tell about the Central Star and the Adjacent Environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this