The 3D morphology of the ejecta surrounding VY Canis Majoris

Terry J Jones, Roberta M Humphreys, L. Andrew Helton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use second epoch images taken with WFPC2 on the HST and imaging polarimetry taken with the HST/ACS/HRC to explore the three dimensional structure of the circumstellar dust distribution around the red supergiant VY Canis Majoris. Transverse motions, combined with radial velocities, provide a picture of the kinematics of the ejecta, including the total space motions. The fractional polarization and photometric colors provide an independent method of locating the physical position of the dust along the line-of-sight. Most of the individual arc-like features and clumps seen in the intensity image are also features in the fractional polarization map, and must be distinct geometric objects. The location of these features in the ejecta of VY CMa using kinematics and polarimetry agree well with each other, and strongly suggest they are the result of relatively massive ejections, probably associated with magnetic fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-260
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS242
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Polarization
  • Stars: individual (VY CMa)
  • Stars: mass loss


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