Volume 569, September 2014
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Published online||17 September 2014|
V838 Monocerotis: the central star and its environment a decade after outburst
Laboratoire Lagrange, UMR 7293, Univ. Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS,
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur,
2 Department of Physics & Astronomy, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
3 Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, 380009 Gujarat, India
4 Max-Planck Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
5 HL Dodge Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Oklahoma, 440 W Brooks Street, Norman, OK 73019, USA
Received: 24 June 2014
Accepted: 21 July 2014
Aims. V838 Monocerotis erupted in 2002, brightened in a series of outbursts, and eventually developed a spectacular light echo. A very red star emerged a few months after the outburst. The whole event has been interpreted as the result of a merger.
Methods. We obtained near- and mid-IR interferometric observations of V838 Mon with the AMBER and MIDI recombiners located at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) array. The MIDI two-beam observations were obtained with the 8 m unit telescopes between October 2011 and February 2012. The AMBER three-beam observations were obtained with the compact array (B ≤ 35 m) in April 2013 and the long array (B ≤ 140 m) in May 2014, using the 1.8 m auxiliary telescopes.
Results. A significant new result is the detection of a compact structure around V838 Mon, as seen from MIDI data. The extension of the structure increases from a FWHM of 25 mas at 8 μm to 70 mas at 13 μm. At the adopted distance of D = 6.1 ± 0.6 kpc, the dust is distributed from about 150 to 400 AU around V838 Mon. The MIDI visibilities reveal a flattened structure whose aspect ratio increases with wavelength. The major axis is roughly oriented around a position angle of − 10°, which aligns with previous polarimetric studies reported in the literature. This flattening can be interpreted as a relic of the 2002 eruption or as caused by the influence of the currently embedded B3V companion. The AMBER data provide a new diameter for the pseudo-photosphere, which shows that its diameter has decreased by about 40% in 10 yr, reaching a radius R∗ = 750 ± 200 R⊙ (3.5 ± 1.0 AU).
Conclusions. After the 2002 eruption, which was interpreted as the merging of two stars, it seems that the resulting source is relaxing to a normal state. The nearby environment exhibits an equatorial overdensity of dust up to several hundred AU.
Key words: techniques: high angular resolution / stars: individual: V838 Monocerotis / circumstellar matter / stars: mass-loss
© ESO, 2014
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