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Discovery of an Extended Dust Emission around IRAS 18576+0341 (AFGL 2298) at 10.3 and 18.0 microns: a New Luminous Blue Variable Candidate?

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DOI: 10.1086/319004
arXiv ID: astro-ph/0010099
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We report detection of an extended mid-infrared emission from \iras 18576+0341 (AFGL 2298). The object shows a dusty circumstellar shell that has diameter of $\age 7\arcsec$ at 10.3 and 18.0 $\um$. The dust nebula shows two emission peaks concentrically elongated and symmetrically oriented on the opposite sides of the third, central peak, which appears to be the central star of the system. The observed mid-infrared morphology indicates that the circumstellar dust shell has an equatorially-enhanced material distribution, which is a common signature of stellar objects that have experienced mass loss. Radiative transfer model calculations suggest that the central star is an extremely bright ($\lstar = 10^{6.4} \lsun$) star at a distance of about 10 kpc: this object is best described as a new luminous blue variable candidate. The circumstellar dust shell seems to have been generated by an equatorially-enhanced mass loss process with ${\dot M} \ge 6.8 \times 10^{-6} \msun$ yr$^{-1}$ and ${\dot M}_{\rm pole}/{\dot M}_{\rm eq} \sim 0.5$.

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