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The chemistry of extragalactic carbon stars




Prompted by the ongoing interest in Spitzer Infrared Spectrometer spectra of carbon stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, we have investigated the circumstellar chemistry of carbon stars in low-metallicity environments. Consistent with observations, our models show that acetylene is particularly abundant in the inner regions of low metallicity carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch stars – more abundant than carbon monoxide. As a consequence, larger hydrocarbons have higher abundances at the metallicities of the Magellanic Clouds than in stars with solar metallicity. We also find that the oxygen and nitrogen chemistry is suppressed at lower metallicity, as expected. Finally, we calculate molecular line emission from carbon stars in the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud and find that several molecules should be readily detectable with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at Full Science operations.