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Discovery of a Luminous Blue Variable with an Ejection Nebula Near the Quintuplet Cluster

Mauerhan, J. C. and Morris, M. R. and Cotera, A. and Dong, H. and Wang, Q. D. and Stolovy, S. R. and Lang, C. and Glass, I. S. (2010) Discovery of a Luminous Blue Variable with an Ejection Nebula Near the Quintuplet Cluster. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 713 (1). L33-L36. ISSN 2041-8205.

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We report on the discovery of a luminous blue variable (LBV) lying ≈7 pc in projection from the Quintuplet cluster. This source, which we call LBV G0.120 – 0.048, was selected for spectroscopy owing to its detection as a strong source of Paschen-α (Pα) excess in a recent narrowband imaging survey of the Galactic center region with the Hubble Space Telescope/Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer. The K-band spectrum is similar to that of the Pistol Star and other known LBVs. The new LBV was previously cataloged as a photometric variable star, exhibiting brightness fluctuations of up to ≈1 mag between 1994 and 1997, with significant variability also occurring on month-to-month timescales. The luminosity of LBV G0.120 – 0.048, as derived from Two-Micron All Sky Survey photometry, is approximately equivalent to that of the Pistol Star. However, the time-averaged brightness of LBV G0.120 – 0.048 between 1994 and 1997 exceeded that of the Pistol Star; LBV G0.120 – 0.048 also suffers more extinction, which suggests that it was intrinsically more luminous in the infrared than the Pistol Star between 1994 and 1997. Pα images reveal a thin circular nebula centered on LBV G0.120 – 0.048 with a physical radius of ≈0.8 pc. We suggest that this nebula is a shell of ejected material launched from a discrete eruption that occurred between 5000 and 10,000 years ago. Because of the very short amount of time that evolved massive stars spend in the LBV phase, and the close proximity of LBV G0.120 – 0.048 to the Quintuplet cluster, we suggest that this object might be coeval with the cluster, and may have once resided within it.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Morris, M. R.0000-0002-6753-2066
Additional Information:© 2010 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 November 25; accepted 2010 February 18; published 2010 March 23.
Subject Keywords:infrared: stars; stars: emission-line, Be; stars: evolution; stars: mass-loss; stars: variables: general; supergiants
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:PACS: 97.30.Dg; 98.20.Gm; 98.35.Jk; 97.20.Pm; 98.20.Di; 98.38.Dq.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100528-132011563
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Official Citation:J. C. Mauerhan et al 2010 ApJ 713 L33 doi: 10.1088/2041-8205/713/1/L33
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18496
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Jun 2010 02:33
Last Modified:04 Nov 2019 21:48

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