Environments of evolved massive stars: evidence for episodic mass ejections
M. Kraus, L. S. Cidale, M. L. Arias, A. F. Torres, I. Kolka, G. Maravelias, D. H. Nickeler, W. Glatzel and T. Liimets
The post-main sequence evolutionary path of massive stars comprises various transition phases, in which the stars shed large amounts of material into their environments. Our studies focus on two of them: B[e] supergiants and yellow hypergiants, for which we investigate the structure and dynamics within their environments. We find that each B[e] supergiant is surrounded by a unique set of rings or arc-like structures. These structures are either stable over time or they display high variability, including expansion and dilution. In contrast, yellow hypergiants are embedded in multiple shells of gas and dust. These objects are famous for their outburst activity. Moreover, the dynamics in their extended atmospheres imply an enhanced pulsation activity prior to outburst. The physical mechanism(s) leading to episodic mass ejections in these two types of stars is still uncertain. We propose that strange-mode instabilities, excited in the inflated envelopes of these objects, play a significant role.