VLTI/PIONIER reveals the close environment of the evolved system HD 101584

2020 
Context.The observed orbital characteristics of post-asymptotic giant branch and post-red giant branch (post-RGB) binaries are not understood. We suspect that the missing ingredients needed to explain them probably lie in the continuous interaction of the central binary with its circumstellar environment. Aims.We aim at studying the circumbinary material in these complex systems by investigating the connection between the innermost structures and large-scale structures. Methods.We perform high-angular resolution observations of HD 101584 in the near-infrared continuum. HD 101584 has a complex structure as seen at millimeter wavelengths, with a disk-like morphology and a bipolar outflow due to an episode of a strong binary interaction. To account for the complexity of the target, we first perform an image reconstruction and use this result to fit a geometrical model to extract the morphological and thermal features of the environment. Results.The image reveals an unexpected double ring structure. We interpret the inner ring as having been produced by emission from dust located in the plane of the disk, and the outer ring having been produced by emission from dust that is located 1.6 [D/1kpc] au above the disk plane. The inner ring diameter (3.94 [D/1kpc] au) and temperature (T= 1540 +/- 10 K) are compatible with the dust sublimation front of the disk. The origin of the out-of-plane ring (with a diameter of 7.39 [D/1kpc] au and a temperature of 1014 +/- 10 K) could be episodic ejection or a dust condensation front in the outflow. Conclusions.The observed outer ring is possibly linked with the blue-shifted side of the large-scale outflow seen by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and may trace its launching location to the central star. Such observations place morphological constraints on the ejection mechanism. Additional observations are needed to constrain the origin of the out-of-plane structure.
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