The infrared view of dust and molecules around V4334 Sgr (Sakurai's object): A 20-yr retrospective

R D Gehrz, C E Woodward, D P K Banerjee, T R Geballe, G C Clayton, P J Sarre, S Starrfield, K Hinkle, R R Joyce, Foteini Lykou, L A Helton, S P S Eyres, H Worters, E J Montiel, T Liimets, A Zijlstra, M Richter, J Krautter

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We present an analysis of the evolution of circumstellar dust and molecules in the environment of the very late thermal pulse object V4334 Sgr (Sakurai's object) over an ∼20-yr period, drawing on ground-, airborne-, and space-based infrared photometry and spectroscopy. The dust emission, which started in 1997, resembles a blackbody that cooled from ∼1200 K in 1998 August to ∼180 K in 2016 July. The dust mass, assuming amorphous carbon, was ∼5 × 10-10M⊙ in 1998 August, and we estimate that the total dust mass was ∼2 × 10-5M⊙ by ∼2016. The appearance of a near-infrared excess in 2008 suggests that a new episode of (or renewed) mass-loss began then. We infer lower limits on the bolometric luminosity of the embedded star from that of the dust shell, which rose to ∼16 000 L⊙ before declining to ∼3000 L⊙. There is evidence for weak 6-7 μmabsorption, which we attribute to hydrogenated amorphous carbon formed in material ejected by Sakurai's object during a mass ejection phase that preceded the 1997 event.We detect small hydrocarbon and other molecules in the spectra, and trace the column densities in hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and acetylene (C2H2). We use the former to determine the 12C/13C ratio to be 6.4 ± 0.7, 14 times smaller than the Solar system value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1291
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2020


  • stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • stars: carbon
  • Circumstellar matter
  • stars: evolution
  • Stars: individual (Sakurai's Object (V4334 Sgr))
  • infrared: stars


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