The three-dimensional morphology of VY Canis Majoris. II. polarimetry and the line-of-sight distribution of the ejecta

Terry J Jones, Roberta M Humphreys, L. Andrew Helton, Changfeng Gui, Xiang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use imaging polarimetry taken with the HST Advanced Camera for Surveys High Resolution Camera to explore the three-dimensional structure of the circumstellar dust distribution around the red supergiant VY Canis Majoris. The polarization vectors of the nebulosity surrounding VY CMa show a strong centrosymmetric pattern in all directions except directly east and range from 10% to 80% in fractional polarization. In regions that are optically thin, and therefore likely to have only single scattering, we use the fractional polarization and photometric color to locate the physical position of the dust along the line of sight. Most of the individual arclike features and clumps seen in the intensity image are also features in the fractional polarization map. These features must be distinct geometric objects. If they were just local density enhancements, the fractional polarization would not change so abruptly at the edge of the feature. The location of these features in the ejecta of VY CMa using polarimetry provides a determination of their three-dimensional geometry independent of, but in close agreement with, the results from our study of their kinematics (Paper I).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2730-2736
Number of pages7
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume133
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

Keywords

  • Stars: individual (VY Canis Majoris)
  • Stars: mass loss
  • Supergiants

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The three-dimensional morphology of VY Canis Majoris. II. polarimetry and the line-of-sight distribution of the ejecta'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this