The yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A

Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase

O. Chesneau, A. Meilland, E. Chapellier, F. Millour, A. M. Van Genderen, Y. Nazé, Nathan Smith, A. Spang, J. V. Smoker, L. Dessart, S. Kanaan, Ph Bendjoya, M. W. Feast, J. H. Groh, A. Lobel, N. Nardetto, S. Otero, R. D. Oudmaijer, A. G. Tekola, P. A. Whitelock & 3 others C. Arcos, M. Curé, L. Vanzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer phase. Aims. We initiated long-term optical interferometry monitoring of the diameters of massive and unstable yellow hypergiants (YHG) with the goal of detecting both the long-term evolution of their radius and shorter term formation of a possible pseudo-photosphere related to proposed large mass-loss events.Methods. We observed HR5171 A with AMBER/VLTI. We also examined archival photometric data in the visual and near-IR spanning more than 60 years, as well as sparse spectroscopic data. Results. HR 5171 A exhibits a complex appearance. Our AMBER data reveal a surprisingly large star for a YHG R* = 1315±260 R (or ∼6.1AU) at the distance of 3.6 ±0.5 kpc. The source is surrounded by an extended nebulosity, and these data also show a large level of asymmetry in the brightness distribution of the system, which we attribute to a newly discovered companion star locatedin front of the primary star. The companions signature is also detected in the visual photometry, which indicates an orbital period of Porb = 1304 ±6 d. Modeling the light curve with the NIGHTFALL program provides clear evidence that the system is a contact or possibly over-contact eclipsing binary. A total current system mass of 39+4022 M and a high mass ratio q ≥ 10 is inferred for the system.Conclusions. The low-mass companion of HR5171 A is very close to the primary star that is embedded within its dense wind. Tight constraints on the inclination and v sin i of the primary are lacking, which prevents us from determining its influence precisely on the mass-loss phenomenon, but the system is probably experiencing a wind Roche-Lobe overflow. Depending on the amount of angular momentum that can be transferred to the stellar envelope, HR5171 A may become a fast-rotating B[e]/luminous blue variable/Wolf-Rayet star. In any case, HR 5171 A highlights the possible importance of binaries for interpreting the unstable YHGs and for massive star evolution in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA71
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume563
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

envelopes
stars
visual photometry
stellar envelopes
Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
companion stars
brightness distribution
Wolf-Rayet stars
variable stars
photosphere
massive stars
lobes
mass ratios
light curve
mass transfer
inclination
interferometry
angular momentum
signatures
asymmetry

Keywords

  • Binaries: close
  • Circumstellar matter
  • Stars: individual: HR 5171 A
  • Stars: mass-loss
  • Stars: massive
  • Techniques: high angular resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Chesneau, O., Meilland, A., Chapellier, E., Millour, F., Van Genderen, A. M., Nazé, Y., ... Vanzi, L. (2014). The yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A: Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 563, [A71]. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201322421

The yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A : Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase. / Chesneau, O.; Meilland, A.; Chapellier, E.; Millour, F.; Van Genderen, A. M.; Nazé, Y.; Smith, Nathan; Spang, A.; Smoker, J. V.; Dessart, L.; Kanaan, S.; Bendjoya, Ph; Feast, M. W.; Groh, J. H.; Lobel, A.; Nardetto, N.; Otero, S.; Oudmaijer, R. D.; Tekola, A. G.; Whitelock, P. A.; Arcos, C.; Curé, M.; Vanzi, L.

In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 563, A71, 2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chesneau, O, Meilland, A, Chapellier, E, Millour, F, Van Genderen, AM, Nazé, Y, Smith, N, Spang, A, Smoker, JV, Dessart, L, Kanaan, S, Bendjoya, P, Feast, MW, Groh, JH, Lobel, A, Nardetto, N, Otero, S, Oudmaijer, RD, Tekola, AG, Whitelock, PA, Arcos, C, Curé, M & Vanzi, L 2014, 'The yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A: Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase', Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 563, A71. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201322421
Chesneau, O. ; Meilland, A. ; Chapellier, E. ; Millour, F. ; Van Genderen, A. M. ; Nazé, Y. ; Smith, Nathan ; Spang, A. ; Smoker, J. V. ; Dessart, L. ; Kanaan, S. ; Bendjoya, Ph ; Feast, M. W. ; Groh, J. H. ; Lobel, A. ; Nardetto, N. ; Otero, S. ; Oudmaijer, R. D. ; Tekola, A. G. ; Whitelock, P. A. ; Arcos, C. ; Curé, M. ; Vanzi, L. / The yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A : Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase. In: Astronomy and Astrophysics. 2014 ; Vol. 563.
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abstract = "Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer phase. Aims. We initiated long-term optical interferometry monitoring of the diameters of massive and unstable yellow hypergiants (YHG) with the goal of detecting both the long-term evolution of their radius and shorter term formation of a possible pseudo-photosphere related to proposed large mass-loss events.Methods. We observed HR5171 A with AMBER/VLTI. We also examined archival photometric data in the visual and near-IR spanning more than 60 years, as well as sparse spectroscopic data. Results. HR 5171 A exhibits a complex appearance. Our AMBER data reveal a surprisingly large star for a YHG R* = 1315±260 R (or ∼6.1AU) at the distance of 3.6 ±0.5 kpc. The source is surrounded by an extended nebulosity, and these data also show a large level of asymmetry in the brightness distribution of the system, which we attribute to a newly discovered companion star locatedin front of the primary star. The companions signature is also detected in the visual photometry, which indicates an orbital period of Porb = 1304 ±6 d. Modeling the light curve with the NIGHTFALL program provides clear evidence that the system is a contact or possibly over-contact eclipsing binary. A total current system mass of 39+4022 M and a high mass ratio q ≥ 10 is inferred for the system.Conclusions. The low-mass companion of HR5171 A is very close to the primary star that is embedded within its dense wind. Tight constraints on the inclination and v sin i of the primary are lacking, which prevents us from determining its influence precisely on the mass-loss phenomenon, but the system is probably experiencing a wind Roche-Lobe overflow. Depending on the amount of angular momentum that can be transferred to the stellar envelope, HR5171 A may become a fast-rotating B[e]/luminous blue variable/Wolf-Rayet star. In any case, HR 5171 A highlights the possible importance of binaries for interpreting the unstable YHGs and for massive star evolution in general.",
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T2 - Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase

AU - Chesneau, O.

AU - Meilland, A.

AU - Chapellier, E.

AU - Millour, F.

AU - Van Genderen, A. M.

AU - Nazé, Y.

AU - Smith, Nathan

AU - Spang, A.

AU - Smoker, J. V.

AU - Dessart, L.

AU - Kanaan, S.

AU - Bendjoya, Ph

AU - Feast, M. W.

AU - Groh, J. H.

AU - Lobel, A.

AU - Nardetto, N.

AU - Otero, S.

AU - Oudmaijer, R. D.

AU - Tekola, A. G.

AU - Whitelock, P. A.

AU - Arcos, C.

AU - Curé, M.

AU - Vanzi, L.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer phase. Aims. We initiated long-term optical interferometry monitoring of the diameters of massive and unstable yellow hypergiants (YHG) with the goal of detecting both the long-term evolution of their radius and shorter term formation of a possible pseudo-photosphere related to proposed large mass-loss events.Methods. We observed HR5171 A with AMBER/VLTI. We also examined archival photometric data in the visual and near-IR spanning more than 60 years, as well as sparse spectroscopic data. Results. HR 5171 A exhibits a complex appearance. Our AMBER data reveal a surprisingly large star for a YHG R* = 1315±260 R (or ∼6.1AU) at the distance of 3.6 ±0.5 kpc. The source is surrounded by an extended nebulosity, and these data also show a large level of asymmetry in the brightness distribution of the system, which we attribute to a newly discovered companion star locatedin front of the primary star. The companions signature is also detected in the visual photometry, which indicates an orbital period of Porb = 1304 ±6 d. Modeling the light curve with the NIGHTFALL program provides clear evidence that the system is a contact or possibly over-contact eclipsing binary. A total current system mass of 39+4022 M and a high mass ratio q ≥ 10 is inferred for the system.Conclusions. The low-mass companion of HR5171 A is very close to the primary star that is embedded within its dense wind. Tight constraints on the inclination and v sin i of the primary are lacking, which prevents us from determining its influence precisely on the mass-loss phenomenon, but the system is probably experiencing a wind Roche-Lobe overflow. Depending on the amount of angular momentum that can be transferred to the stellar envelope, HR5171 A may become a fast-rotating B[e]/luminous blue variable/Wolf-Rayet star. In any case, HR 5171 A highlights the possible importance of binaries for interpreting the unstable YHGs and for massive star evolution in general.

AB - Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer phase. Aims. We initiated long-term optical interferometry monitoring of the diameters of massive and unstable yellow hypergiants (YHG) with the goal of detecting both the long-term evolution of their radius and shorter term formation of a possible pseudo-photosphere related to proposed large mass-loss events.Methods. We observed HR5171 A with AMBER/VLTI. We also examined archival photometric data in the visual and near-IR spanning more than 60 years, as well as sparse spectroscopic data. Results. HR 5171 A exhibits a complex appearance. Our AMBER data reveal a surprisingly large star for a YHG R* = 1315±260 R (or ∼6.1AU) at the distance of 3.6 ±0.5 kpc. The source is surrounded by an extended nebulosity, and these data also show a large level of asymmetry in the brightness distribution of the system, which we attribute to a newly discovered companion star locatedin front of the primary star. The companions signature is also detected in the visual photometry, which indicates an orbital period of Porb = 1304 ±6 d. Modeling the light curve with the NIGHTFALL program provides clear evidence that the system is a contact or possibly over-contact eclipsing binary. A total current system mass of 39+4022 M and a high mass ratio q ≥ 10 is inferred for the system.Conclusions. The low-mass companion of HR5171 A is very close to the primary star that is embedded within its dense wind. Tight constraints on the inclination and v sin i of the primary are lacking, which prevents us from determining its influence precisely on the mass-loss phenomenon, but the system is probably experiencing a wind Roche-Lobe overflow. Depending on the amount of angular momentum that can be transferred to the stellar envelope, HR5171 A may become a fast-rotating B[e]/luminous blue variable/Wolf-Rayet star. In any case, HR 5171 A highlights the possible importance of binaries for interpreting the unstable YHGs and for massive star evolution in general.

KW - Binaries: close

KW - Circumstellar matter

KW - Stars: individual: HR 5171 A

KW - Stars: mass-loss

KW - Stars: massive

KW - Techniques: high angular resolution

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