AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 85 Stellar Structure, Evolution and Abundances
Poster, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[85.06] The Remarkable Rapidly Evolving Infrared Spectrum of V838 Monocerotis

T. R. Geballe (Gemini Observatory), M. T. Rushton, A. Evans, B. Smalley, J. Th. van Loon, V. H. Tyne (Keele University), S. P. S. Eyres (University of Central Lancashire)

We have obtained a time series of spectra in the 1--5\mum region of the peculiar erupting variable V838 Monocerotis, detailing its unique, remarkable, and rapidly changing spectrum during 2002-2003. The spectrum has frequently contained both emission and absorption features, with some spectral features alternating between the two. Most of the 1-5\mum spectra have been dominated by strong absorption bands of water vapor. Perhaps most remarkable has been the behavior of the CO overtone (2.3\mum) band. Initially (January 2002) in absorption, it has subsequently appeared both in heavily optically thick emission (March 2002) and in deep absorption (autumn 2002 - present; for some of this period deeper than ever previously reported in any object), and with the latter currently occuring simultaneously with SiO overtone band emission at 4.0\mum. Despite similarities to final thermal pulse objects and luminous red variables, and suggestions that we are witnessing a stellar merger or multiple planet-swallowing episodes, the extraordinary behavior of V838 Mon remains an enigma.

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