A Caltech Library Service

SPHERE view of Wolf-Rayet 104. Direct detection of the Pinwheel and the link with the nearby star

Soulain, A. and Millour, F. and Lopez, B. and Matter, A. and Lagadec, E. and Carbillet, M. and La Camera, A. and Lamberts, A. and Langlois, M. and Milli, J. and Avenhaus, H. and Magnard, Y. and Roux, A. and Moulin, T. and Carle, M. and Sevin, A. and Martinez, P. and Abe, L. and Ramos, J. (2018) SPHERE view of Wolf-Rayet 104. Direct detection of the Pinwheel and the link with the nearby star. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 618 . Art. No. A108. ISSN 0004-6361.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Context. WR104 is an emblematic dusty Wolf-Rayet star and the prototypical member of a sub-group hosting spirals that are mainly observable with high-angular resolution techniques. Previous aperture masking observations showed that WR104 is likely to be an interacting binary star at the end of its life. However, several aspects of the system are still unknown. This includes the opening angle of the spiral, the dust formation locus, and the link between the central binary star and a candidate companion star detected with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) at 1′′. Aims. Our aim was to directly image the dusty spiral or “pinwheel” structure around WR104 for the first time and determine its physical properties at large spatial scales. We also wanted to address the characteristics of the candidate companion detected by the HST. Methods. For this purpose, we used SPHERE and VISIR at the Very Large Telescope to image the system in the near- and mid-infrared, respectively. Both instruments furnished an excellent view of the system at the highest angular resolution a single, ground-based telescope can provide. Based on these direct images, we then used analytical and radiative transfer models to determine several physical properties of the system. Results. Employing a different technique than previously used, our new images have allowed us to confirm the presence of the dust pinwheel around the central star. We have also detected up to five revolutions of the spiral pattern of WR104 in the K band for the first time. The circumstellar dust extends up to 2 arcsec from the central binary star in the N band, corresponding to the past 20 yr of mass loss. Moreover, we found no clear evidence of a shadow of the first spiral coil onto the subsequent ones, which likely points to a dusty environment less massive than inferred in previous studies. We have also confirmed that the stellar candidate companion previously detected by the HST is gravitationally bound to WR104 and herein provide information about its nature and orbital elements.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Lamberts, A.0000-0001-8740-0127
Milli, J.0000-0001-9325-2511
Additional Information:© 2018 ESO. Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Received 12 February 2018; Accepted 13 July 2018; Published online 18 October 2018. Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programme IDs 097.D-0662 and 60.A-9639(A). This work uses the SPHERE Data Centre, jointly operated by OSUG/IPAG (Grenoble), PYTHEAS/LAM/CeSAM (Marseille), OCA/Lagrange (Nice), and Observatoire de Paris/LESIA (Paris) and supported by a grant from Labex OSUG@2020 (Investissements d’Avenir – ANR10 LABX56). We acknowledge support from the CNRS, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, and the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur. We used NASA’s Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services. This research made use of Astropy, a community-developed core Python package for astronomy (Astropy Collaboration 2013). Support for A.L. was provided by an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, NASA ATP Grant NNX14AH35G, and NSF Collaborative Research Grant 1715847 and CAREER grant 1455342.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Labex OSUG@2020ANR10-LABX56
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
University of Nice Sophia AntipolisUNSPECIFIED
Observatoire de la Côte d’AzurUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:stars: Wolf-Rayet – stars: winds, outflows – circumstellar matter – techniques: high angular resolution
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181102-080842297
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:SPHERE view of Wolf-Rayet 104 - Direct detection of the Pinwheel and the link with the nearby star. A. Soulain, F. Millour, B. Lopez, A. Matter, E. Lagadec, M. Carbillet, A. La Camera, A. Lamberts, M. Langlois, J. Milli, H. Avenhaus, Y. Magnard, A. Roux, T. Moulin, M. Carle, A. Sevin, P. Martinez, L. Abe and J. Ramos. A&A, 618 (2018) A108. DOI:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90600
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Nov 2018 16:41
Last Modified:10 Oct 2019 23:11

Repository Staff Only: item control page