An infrared nebula associated with δ Cephei: Evidence of mass loss?

M. Marengo, N. R. Evans, P. Barmby, L. D. Matthews, G. Bono, D. L. Welch, M. Romaniello, D. Huelsman, K. Y.L. Su, G. G. Fazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We present the discovery of an infrared nebula around the Cepheid prototype δ Cephei and its hot companion HD 213307. Large-scale (∼2.1 × 104 AU) nebulosity is detected at 5.8, 8.0, 24, and 70 μm. Surrounding the two stars, the 5.8 and 8.0 μm emission is largely attributable to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emission swept from the interstellar medium by a wind originating from δ Cephei and/or its companion. Stochastically heated small dust grains are the most likely source of the 24 and 70 μm extended emission. The 70 μm emission, in particular, resembles a bow shock aligned in the direction of the proper motion of δ Cephei. This discovery supports the hypothesis that δ Cephei may be currently losing mass, at a rate in the range of ≈5 × 10-9 to 6 × 10-8M⊙ yr-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2392-2400
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 20 2010


  • Infrared: stars
  • Stars: individual (delta Cephei)
  • Stars: mass-loss
  • Stars: variables: Cepheids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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