EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 438, Number 1, July IV 2005
Page(s) 317 - 324
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20052813

A&A 438, 317-324 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20052813

Outbursts on normal stars

FH Leo misclassified as a novalike variable
T. H. Dall1, L. Schmidtobreick1, N. C. Santos2 and G. Israelian3

1  European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
    e-mail: tdall@eso.org
2  Centro de Astronomia e Astrofísica da Universidade de Lisboa, Observatório Astronómico de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-018 Lisboa, Portugal
3  Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain

(Received 3 February 2005 / Accepted 12 April 2005 )

We present high resolution spectroscopy of the common proper motion system FH Leo (components HD 96273 and BD+07 2411B), which has been classified as a novalike variable due to an outburst observed by Hipparcos, and we present and review the available photometry. We show from our spectra that neither star can possibly be a cataclysmic variable, instead they are perfectly normal late-F and early-G stars. We measured their radial velocities and derived the atmospheric fundamental parameters, abundances of several elements including Fe, Ni, Cr, Co, V, Sc, Ti, Ca and Mg, and we derive the age of the system. From our analysis we conclude that the stars do indeed constitute a physical binary. However, the observed outburst cannot be readily explained. We examine several explanations, including pollution with scattered light from Jupiter, binarity, microlensing, background supernovae, interaction with unseen companions and planetary engulfment. While no explanation is fully satisfactory, the scattered light and star-planet interaction scenarios emerge as the least unlikely ones, and we give suggestions for further study.

Key words: stars: abundances -- binaries: general -- stars: fundamental parameters -- planetary systems -- stars: individual: HD 96273 -- stars: individual: BD+07 2411B

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2005