Infrared Polarimetry and Integral Field Spectroscopy of Post-Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars
In this thesis, I present the properties of IRAS 19306+1407 central source and its sur- rounding circumstellar envelope (CSE), from the analysis of near-infrared (near-IR) polarimetry and integral field spectroscopy (IFS), with supporting archived HST im- ages and sub-millimetre (sub-mm) photometry. This is supported by axi-symmetric light scattering (ALS), axi-symmetric radiative transfer (DART) and molecular hy-drogen (H2) shock models. The polarimetric images show that IRAS 19306+1407 has a dusty torus, which deviates from axisymmetry and exhibits a ‘twist’ feature. The DART and ALS modelling shows that the CSE consists of Oxygen-rich sub-micrometre dust grains, with a range in temperature from 130±30 to 40±20 K at the inner and outer radius, respectively, with inner and outer radii of 1.9±0.1×1014 and 2.7±0.1×1015 m. The CSE detached 400±10 years ago and the mass loss lasted 5700±160 years, assuming a constant asymptotic giant branch (AGB) outflow speed of 15 km s−1. The dust mass and total mass of the CSE is 8.9±5×10−4 and 1.8±1.0×10 −1 M⊙, assuming a gas-to-dust ratio of 200. The mass loss rate was 3.4±2.1×10−5 M⊙ year−1. The central source is consistent with a B1I-type star with a radius of 3.8 ± 0.6 R⊙, luminosity of 4500 ± 340 L⊙ at a distance of 2.7 ± 0.1 kpc. A purpose built idl package (fus) was developed and used in the SINFONI IFS data critical final reduction steps. It also produced emission line, kinematic and line ratio images. The IFS observations show that H2 is detected throughout the CSE, located in bright arcs and in the bipolar lobes. The velocity of the H2 is greatest at the end of the lobes. Brγ emission originates from, or close, to the central source – produced by a fast jump (J) shock or photo-ionised atomic gas. The 1-0 S(1)/2- 1 S(1) and 1-0 S(1)/3-2 S(3) ratios were used as a diagnostic and determined that H2 was excited by bow shaped shocks; however, these shock models could not wholly explain the observed rotational and vibrational temperatures. The CDR values were fitted by combining continuous (C) or J-bow shock and fluorescence models, with a contribution from the latter, observed throughout the CSE (5–77 per cent). The majority of shock can be described by a C-bow shock model with B = 0.02 to 1.28 mG. Shocks are predominately seen in the equatorial regions. Polarimetry and IFS highlight a ‘twist’ feature, which could be due to an episodic jet undergoing a recent change in the outflow direction. The sub-arcsecond IFS observations reveal a flocculent structure in the south- east bright arc, consisting of several clumps interpreted as a fast-wind eroding an equatorial torus, possibly forming H2 knots seen in (some) evolved planetary nebulae (PNe). My analysis has effectively constrained the following: spectral type, stellar radius, luminosity and distance, chemistry, dust grain properties, geometry, age, mass loss, excitation mechanism and evolutionary state of the post-AGB star and its surrounding CSE. I conclude that IRAS 19306+1407 is a post-AGB object on the verge becoming a PN.