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TOPIC: LBV R71 in the LMC starting giant outburst

LBV R71 in the LMC starting giant outburst 9 years 7 months ago #24

I would like to draw attention to the Luminous Blue Variable R71 in the LMC. It has been brightening from its quiescence level since a few years now [ 1, 2, 3 ], but other than expected for typical S Doradus type variability, it is clear now that it did not stop at the usual limit of Delta V < 2mag. At the same time, its spectrum, usually of late type B, has become as cool as early G, which is well beyond the A-F type spectra LBV have in S Doradus type outbursts.

For this reason, we (Baade, Mehner, Rivinius et al.) believe R71 is entering a giant outburst. No LBV giant outburst in the Local Group has been observed since the advent of modern astrophysics, the only two previous ones were, in fact, P Cygni in the 1600's and eta Carinae in the 1840's.

We have started monitoring R71 spectroscopically with X-SHOOTER. However, the high pressure on this telescope and instrument gives us only a long cadence. We encourage all observers to obtain data on R71, in order not to miss this unique scientific opportunity.
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