The weather report from IRC+10216: Evolving irregular clouds envelop carbon star

P. N. Stewart*, P. G. Tuthill, J. D. Monnier, M. J. Ireland, M. M. Hedman, P. D. Nicholson, S. Lacour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


High angular resolution images of IRC+10216 are presented in several near-infrared wavelengths spanning more than 8 years. These maps have been reconstructed from interferometric observations obtained at both Keck and the VLT, and also from stellar occultations by the rings of Saturn observed with the Cassini spacecraft. The dynamic inner regions of the circumstellar environment are monitored over eight epochs ranging between 2000 January and 2008 July. The system is shown to experience substantial evolution within this period including the fading of many previously reported persistent features, some of which had been identified as the stellar photosphere. These changes are discussed in the context of existing models for the nature of the underlying star and the circumstellar environment. With access to these new images, we are able to report that none of the previously identified bright spots in fact contains the star, which is buried in its own dust and not directly visible in the near-infrared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3102-3109
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: carbon
  • Stars: individual: IRC+10216
  • Stars: mass-loss
  • Stars: winds, outflows


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