Volume 413, Number 2, January II 2004
|Page(s)||L15 - L18|
|Published online||18 December 2003|
Letter to the Editor
A newly identified Luminous Blue Variable in the galactic starburst cluster Westerlund 1*
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, England, UK
2 Dpto. de Física, Ingeniería de Sistemas y Teoría de la Señal, Universidad de Alicante, Apdo. 99, E03080 Alicante, Spain
Corresponding author: J. S. Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 27 November 2003
We present observations of the massive transitional star W243 in Westerlund 1. We find an apparent spectral type of early-mid A from our data, in contrast to an earlier classification of B2I, made from data obtained in 1981. The concurrent development of a rich emission line spectrum suggests a very high mass loss rate; the continued presence of He i emission suggesting that the underlying star remains significantly hotter than implied by its apparent spectral type. We suggest that W243 is a Luminous Blue Variable undergoing an eruptive phase, leading to an extreme mass loss rate and the formation of a pseudo photosphere.
Key words: stars: evolution / stars: variables: general / winds, outflows / supergiants
© ESO, 2004
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