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|Paper IPM / Astronomy / 12916||
We have conducted a near-infrared monitoring campaign at the UK InfraRed Telescope (UKIRT), of the Local Group spiral galaxy M33 (Triangulum). The main aim was to identify stars in the very final stage of their evolution, and for which the luminosity is more directly related to the birth mass than the more numerous less-evolved giant stars that continue to increase in luminosity. In this third paper of the series, we measure the dust production
and rates of mass loss by the pulsating Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars and red supergiants. To this aim, we combined our time-averaged near-IR photometry with the multi-epoch mid-IR photometry obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope. The mass-loss rates are seen to increase with increasing strength of pulsation and with increasing bolometric luminosity. Low-mass stars lose most of their mass through stellar winds, but even super-AGB stars and red supergiants lose ∼ 40% of their mass via a dusty stellar wind. More than three-quarters of the dust return is oxygenous. We construct a 2-D map of the mass-return rate, showing a radial decline but also local enhancements due to agglomerations of massive stars. We estimate a total mass-loss rate of 0.004-0.005 M\odot yr−1 kpc−2, increasing to ∼ 0.006 M\odot yr−1 kpc−2 when accounting for eruptive mass
loss (e.g., supernovæ); comparing this to the current star formation rate of ∼ 0.03 M\odot yr−1 kpc−2 we conclude that star formation in the central region of M 33 can only be sustained if gas is accreted from further out in the disc or from circum-galactic regions.
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