AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 92. Circumstellar Material and Atmospheres: Cooler
Display, Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[92.14] The Spatial Distribution of SiO Masers in AGB Stars at 43 and 86 GHz

K.B. Marvel (American Astronomical Society), F. Colomer, J.-F. Desmurs, V. Bujarrabal, J. Alcolea (Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Spain), P.J. Diamond (Jodrell Bank Observatory), D. Boboltz (United States Naval Observatory), A. Kemball (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

We present Very Long Baseline Interferometric (VLBI) images of the SiO masers near \chi Cyg obtained with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). VLBI observations of SiO masers provide information on the structure and dynamics of the inner circumstellar shells near AGB stars. These stars return large quantities of their stellar material to the interstellar medium during the AGB evolutionary stage. SiO masers occur in the innermost regions of the circumstellar shells, just a few stellar radii above the photosphere where the mass loss initiates and are therefore important to understand.

For several years, a mild controversy has arisen over whether the v=1 and v=2, J=1 \sbond 0 and J=2 \sbond 1 SiO maser transitions all arise from the same or spatially distinct regions. This is critical for understanding whether collisional or radiative pumping drives the population inversion that sustains the maser radiation. However, because SiO masers change significantly over short timescales, the observations of the transitions must be made nearly simultaneously, a challenging feat for ad hoc VLBI arrays.

The high quality 43 GHz performance of the VLBA combined with its newly developed 86 GHz observational capability has allowed us to simultaneously observe multiple SiO maser transitions at 43 and 86 GHz near the stars \chi Cyg, TX Cam and R Cas, including some transitions of 29SiO.

In this poster, we present maps of some of the transitions observed towards \chi Cyg and our initial interpretation of the observations.

This project would have been impossible without the upgraded high frequency capability of the VLBA, funded by the National Science Foundation and the hard work of the staff of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to get the 86 GHz system up and running.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.aas.org/marvel/SiOProject.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: marvel@aas.org

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