Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 389, L51-56 (2002/7-2)
The mysterious eruption of V838 Mon.
MUNARI U., HENDEN A., KIYOTA S., LANEY D., MARANG F., ZWITTER T., CORRADI R.L.M., DESIDERA S., MARRESE P.M., GIRO E., BOSCHI F. and SCHWARTZ M.B.
Abstract (from CDS):
V838 Mon is marking one of the most mysterious stellar outbursts on record. The spectral energy distribution of the progenitor resembles an under-luminous F main sequence star (at V=15.6mag), that erupted into a cool supergiant following a complex and multi-maxima lightcurve (peaking at V=6.7mag). The outburst spectrum show BaII, LiI and lines of several s-elements, with wide P-Cyg profiles and a moderate and retracing emission in the Balmer lines. A light-echo discovered expanding around the object helped to constrain the distance (d=790±30pc), providing MV
=+4.45 in quiescence and MV
=-4.35 at optical maximum (somewhat dependent on the still uncertain EB–V
=0.5 reddening). The general outburst trend is toward lower temperatures and larger luminosities, and continuing so at the time of writing. The object properties conflict with a classification within already existing categories: the progenitor was not on a post-AGB track and thus the similarities with the born-again AGB stars FG Sge, V605 Aql and Sakurai's object are limited to the cool giant spectrum at maximum; the cool spectrum, the moderate wind velocity (500km/s and progressively reducing) and the monotonic decreasing of the low ionization condition argues against a classical nova scenario. The closest similarity is with a star that erupted into an M-type supergiant discovered in M 31 by Rich et al. (1989ApJ...341L..51R
), that became however much brighter by peaking at MV
=-9.95, and with V4332 Sgr that too erupted into an M-type giant (Martini et al., 1999AJ....118.1034M
) and that attained a lower luminosity, closer to that of V838 Mon. M 31-RedVar, V4332 Sgr and V838 Mon could be all manifestations of a new class of astronomical objects.
stars: supergiants - stars: novae - stars: individual: V838 Mon - stars: mass-loss - ISM: jets and outflows
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