Discovery of a nearby twin of SN 1987A'S nebula around the luminous blue variable HD 168625: Was SK - 69 202 an LBV?

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6 Scopus citations


Spitzer Space Telescope images of the luminous blue variable (LBV) candidate HD 168625 reveal the existence of a bipolar nebula several times larger than its previously known equatorial dust torus. The outer nebula of HD 168625 has a full extent of ∼80″ or 0.85 pc, and one of the lobes has a well-defined polar ring. The nebula is a near twin of the triple-ring system around SN 1987A. Because of these polar rings, and accounting for stellar/progenitor luminosity, HD 168625 is an even closer twin of SN 1987A than the B supergiant Sher 25 in NGC 3603. HD 168625's nebula was probably ejected during a giant LBV eruption and not during a red supergiant phase, so its similarity to the nebula around SN 1987A may open new possibilities for the creation of SN 1987A's rings. Namely, the hypothesis that Sk - 69 202 suffered an LBV-like eruption would avert the complete surrender of single-star models for its bipolar nebula by offering an alternative to an unlikely binary merger scenario. It also hints that LBVs are the likely progenitors of some Type II supernovae, and that HP 168625's nebula is a good example of a pre-explosion environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1040
Number of pages4
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: individual (HD 168625)
  • Stars: mass loss
  • Stars: winds, outflows
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 1987A)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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