Stellar Evolution

Red giants can get dusty with age

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Science  26 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6276, pp. 930
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6276.930-b

When a low-to-intermediate-mass star exhausts the hydrogen in its core, its temperature and luminosity evolve in a wellknown sequence. During the post-asymptotic giant branch (post-AGB) stage, the star throws of its outer layers, forming copious amounts of dust. Kamath et al. have found a previously unrecognized group of stars whose evolution seems to have been interrupted at the earlier red giant branch (RGB) stage, appearing as dusty “post-RGB” stars. They speculate that these stars may form in a binary system, either by a companion stripping of the outer layers of the star before it reaches the AGB, or by the two stars merging.

Astron. Astrophys. 586, L5 (2016).

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