EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 418, Number 3, May II 2004
Page(s) 869 - 875
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035716

A&A 418, 869-875 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035716

M 31-RV evolution and its alleged multi-outburst pattern

F. Boschi and U. Munari

INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Sede di Asiago, 36012 Asiago (VI), Italy
(Received 20 November 2003 / Accepted 27 January 2004)

The photometric evolution of M 31-RV has been investigated on 1447 plates of the Andromeda galaxy obtained over half a century with the Asiago telescopes. M 31-RV is a gigantic stellar explosion that occurred during 1988 in the Bulge of M 31 and that was characterized by the appearance for a few months of an M supergiant reaching $M_{\rm bol}=-10$. The 1988 outburst has been positively detected on Asiago plates, and it has been the only such event recorded over the period covered by the plates (1942-1993). In particular, an alleged previous outburst in 1967 is excluded by the more numerous and deeper Asiago plates, with relevant implication for the interpretative models of this unique event. We outline a close analogy in spectral and photometric evolution with those of V838 Mon which exploded in our Galaxy in 2002. The analogy is found to extend also to the closely similar absolute magnitude at the time of the sudden drop in photospheric temperature that both M 31-RV and V838 Mon exhibited. These similarities, in spite of the greatly differing metallicity, age and mass of the two objects, suggest that the same, universal and not yet identified process was at work in both cases.

Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB -- stars: novae, cataclysmic variables -- stars: peculiar -- stars: individual: V838 Mon -- stars: individual: M 31-RV -- galaxies: individual: M 31

Offprint request: U. Munari, munari@pd.astro.it

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