High-resolution co observation of the carbon star CIT 6 revealing the spiral structure and a nascent bipolar outflow

Hyosun Kim, Sheng Yuan Liu, Naomi Hirano, Ronny Zhao-Geisler, Alfonso Trejo, Hsi Wei Yen, Ronald E. Taam, Francisca Kemper, Jongsoo Kim, Do Young Byun, Tie Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


CIT 6 is a carbon star in the transitional phase from the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) to the protoplanetary nebulae (pPNs). Observational evidences of two point sources in the optical, circumstellar arc segments in an HC3N line emission, and a bipolar nebula in near-infrared provide strong support for the presence of a binary companion. Hence, CIT 6 is very attractive for studying the role of companions in the AGB-pPN transition. We have carried out high-resolution 12CO J = 2-1 and 13CO J = 2-1 observations of CIT 6 with the Submillimeter Array combined with the Submillimeter Telescope (single-dish) data. The 12CO channel maps reveal a spiral-shell pattern connecting the HC3N segments in a continuous form and an asymmetric outflow corresponding to the near-infrared bipolar nebula. Rotation of the 12CO channel peak position may be related to the inner spiral winding and/or the bipolar outflow. An eccentric orbit binary is suggested for the presence of an anisotropic mass loss to the west and a double spiral pattern. The lack of interarm emission to the west may indicate a feature corresponding to the periastron passage of a highly eccentric orbit of the binary. Spatially averaged radial and spectral profiles of 12CO J = 2-1 and 13CO J = 2-1 are compared with simple spherical radiative transfer models, suggesting a change of 12CO/13CO abundance ratio from ∼30 to ∼50 inward in the CSE of CIT 6. The millimeter continuum emission is decomposed into extended dust thermal emission (spectral index ∼ -2.4) and compact emission from radio photosphere (spectral index ∼ -2.0).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 20 2015


  • circumstellar matter
  • stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • stars: individual (CIT 6)
  • stars: late-type
  • stars: mass-loss
  • stars: winds, outflows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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