PI: Howard E. Bond, Space Telescope Science Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Title: SMARTS Monitoring of Luminous Red Transients
Abstract: In recent years, one or more new classes of luminous red stellar transients have been discovered. The prototype is the Galactic star V838 Monocerotis, whose 2002 outburst illuminated a spectacular light echo, extensively imaged by \it HST \null. Polarimetry of the echo has yielded a geometric distance of 6.2 kpc, making V838 Mon at maximum intermediate in luminosity between a classical nova and a Type II SN\null. Unlike a nova, the star remained a luminous red supergiant throughout its outburst. Recently, the slowly expanding photosphere has begun to ingest a B-type companion, leading to spectacular photometric and spectroscopic variability. I propose to continue to monitor these changes using synoptic service observing with the SMARTS 1.3m and 1.5m telescopes. A second luminous cool transient appeared in the nearby galaxy NGC 300 in 2008. Unlike V838 Mon, however, it appears that this outburst arose on a massive star, heavily obscured by dust which was evaporated by the outburst light. I propose to use the SMARTS 1.3m to continue to monitor this unusual object, also intermediate in luminosity between a nova and core-collapse SN.
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