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Luminous red novae: Stellar mergers or giant eruptions?
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Number of Authors: 392019 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 630, article id A75Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present extensive datasets for a class of intermediate-luminosity optical transients known as luminous red novae. They show double-peaked light curves, with an initial rapid luminosity rise to a blue peak (at -13 to -15 mag), which is followed by a longer-duration red peak that sometimes is attenuated, resembling a plateau. The progenitors of three of them (NGC 4490-2011OT1, M 101-2015OT1, and SNhunt248), likely relatively massive blue to yellow stars, were also observed in a pre-eruptive stage when their luminosity was slowly increasing. Early spectra obtained during the first peak show a blue continuum with superposed prominent narrow Balmer lines, with P Cygni profiles. Lines of Fe II are also clearly observed, mostly in emission. During the second peak, the spectral continuum becomes much redder, H alpha is barely detected, and a forest of narrow metal lines is observed in absorption. Very late-time spectra (similar to 6 months after blue peak) show an extremely red spectral continuum, peaking in the infrared (IR) domain. H alpha is detected in pure emission at such late phases, along with broad absorption bands due to molecular overtones (such as TiO, VO). We discuss a few alternative scenarios for luminous red novae. Although major instabilities of single massive stars cannot be definitely ruled out, we favour a common envelope ejection in a close binary system, with possibly a final coalescence of the two stars. The similarity between luminous red novae and the outburst observed a few months before the explosion of the Type IIn SN 2011ht is also discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 630, article id A75
Keywords [en]
binaries: close, stars: winds, outflows, stars: massive, supernovae: general
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-175054DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201935999ISI: 000487350800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-175054DiVA, id: diva2:1366320
Available from: 2019-10-29 Created: 2019-10-29 Last updated: 2019-10-29Bibliographically approved

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Tartaglia, LeonardoSollerman, Jesper
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Department of AstronomyThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)
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