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Theoretical ultraviolet extinction curves have been calculated for comparison with observed curves for circumstellar dust in M supergiants. The theoretical curves assumed a silicate grain composition, because silicate grains are expected in the oxygen-rich environments that are observed. Calculations were performed with and without the inclusion of scattering into the beam, with largely similar results. A comparison of the computed curves with the observed ultraviolet extinction curve for circumstellar dust in Scorpii indicates that the size distribution of the circumstellar grains must cut off near 800 Å that is, there are few or no grains smaller than this. Our conclusion is that smaller interstellar silicate grains, where they exist, must come from other sources such as grain fragmentation in shocks.

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Astrophys. J.


Copyright 1989 American Astronomical Society