ISO observations of symbiotic stars: I. HM Sge

H. Schild, S. P. S. Eyres, A. Salama, A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present ISO SWS and LWS observations of the symbiotic star HM Sge. The infrared emission longward of ~5μm is dominated by a silicate dust shell. There is a number of high ionization emission lines superimposed on the dust continuum. The ISO continuum spectra can be fitted with a single, optically thick silicate dust shell but such a model does not fit other known properties of this system, such as the observed colours, the optical visibility of the red giant and the occurrence of a dust obscuration event. We favour a two component model in which in addition to a partial Mira dust shell, a second dust component is associated with the hot source. This second shell is located at the interface between the Mira dust shell and the dust free region carved out by the hot component. This picture corresponds closely to that deduced independently from radio observations. The two dust components are very different. The dust envelope associated with the Mira is very extended and optically thin, whereas the second dust component is geometrically rather thin but dust rich. The model not only fits the ISO data reasonably well, but is also compatible with other IR properties of HM Sge. The thin dust shell contributes strongly to the dust emission over most of the ISO range. It may be the combination of the two shells that makes a symbiotic a D type. The general agreement of the present models with ISO observations indicate that radiation (rather than collisions) as the main dust heating mechanism is sufficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-152
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2001


  • binaries: symbiotic
  • circumstellar matter
  • stars: individual: HM Sge
  • stars: winds, outflows
  • infrared: stars


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