PI: Guy Stringfellow, University of Colorado, Guy.Stringfellow@colorado.edu
Address: Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, 389 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0389, USA
CoI: Vasilii Gvaramadze, Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Russia
Title: Confirming LBV Candidates Through Variability: A Photometric and Spectroscopic Monitoring Study
Abstract: Luminous Blue Variable (LBV) stars represent an extremely rare class of very luminous, massive stars. About a dozen confirmed Galactic LBV stars are known, which precludes determining a solid evolutionary connection between LBV and other intermediate (e.g. Ofpe/WN9, WNL) phases in the life of very massive stars. Several catalogues of nebulae - rings and shells typical of LBVs - derived from the GLIMPSE and MIPSGAL surveys have recently been published. We conducted a near-IR spectral survey of a large subset of central stars residing within these nebulae and have identified nearly two dozen new candidate LBVs (cLBVs) based on spectral similarity alone; they remain cLBVs until 1-3 mag variability is demonstrated, securing their LBV nature. This marks a significant advancement in the study of massive stars, far outweighing the return from many studies searching for LBVs and WRs the past several decades. Using SMARTS 16 new cLBVs, 3 confirmed LBVs, and 2 previously known cLBVs will undergo photometric IR-monitoring, with 6 new cLBVs monitored spectroscopically (already being photometrically monitored elsewhere).
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