A&A 366, 508-531 (2001)
S Doradus variables in the Galaxy and the Magellanic CloudsA. M. van Genderen
Leiden Observatory, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
(Received 6 June 2000 / Accepted 10 October 2000 )
The goal in writing this paper is five fold: (1) to summarize the scientific achievements in the 20th century on S Dor variables (or LBVs); (2) to present an inventory of these variables in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds with a description of their physical state and instability properties; (3) to emphasize the photometric achievements of the various types of instabilities. Generally this seems to be a neglected item resulting in a number of misunderstandings continuously wandering through literature; (4) to investigate the structure of the S Dor-area on the HR-diagram; (5) to estimate the total numbers of S Dor variables in the three stellar systems. The position of the strong active S Dor variables in minimum brightness obey the following linear relation on the HR-diagram: The relatively small dispersion of less active and supposed ex- and dormant S Dor variables with respect to this relation is twice as large at the blue side than at the red side. This might be caused by evolution to the WR stage and/or to high rotation. S Dor variables can be subject to five types of instabilities: the very rare genuine eruptive episodes (the "SD-eruptions"), two different brightening phases caused by slow pulsations (the "SD-phases"): one on a time scale of years, the other on a time scale of decades at a more or less constant luminosity and two types of microvariations: one on a time scale of weeks, the other on a time scale of about 100 d. So far, no periodicities of light curve characteristics of any of these instabilities have ever been found. The durations of active and non-active stages are estimated for about half of the sample based on scattered magnitude estimations such as from historical records, and on modern monitoring campaigns. It would be a misunderstanding to believe that all S Dor variables should be always spectacular. It is estimated that most of them will not be spectacular at all for at least 70% of their lifetime as an S Dor variable.
Key words: catalogue -- stars: variables -- stars: supergiants
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