AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 7 A Walk Through the HR Diagram
Poster, Monday, May 31, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Ballroom

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[7.13] Spectropolarimetric Observations of the Candidate Luminous Blue Variable MWC 314

J.P. Wisniewski (University of Toledo), B.L. Babler (Space Astronomy Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison), K.S. Bjorkman (University of Toledo), M.R. Meade (Space Astronomy Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison), A.M. Miroshnichenko (University of Toledo)

Luminous Blue Variables are a subset of supergiant stars which experience violent, massive eruptions. We present the initial results of multi-epoch spectropolarimetric observations, using the University of Wisconsin-Madison HPOL spectropolarimeter, of MWC 314, whose stellar evolutionary phase has been suggested to be a precursor to a LBV. Significant line polarization and continuum polarization variability is observed over the five-year timescale of these observations, indicating the presence of an intrinsic polarization component. While the continuum polarization exhibits variability of up to 1% in magnitude, the position angle remains constant over time. This suggests that MWC 314 is characterized by an asymmetric circumstellar environment, possibly a flattened circumstellar envelope. The circumstellar environment of MWC 314 is compared to those of other known LBVs.

We acknowledge support provided by a NASA LTSA grant (NAG5-8054) and a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award to KSB, and a NASA GSRP fellowship (NGT5-50469) to JPW. HPOL has been partially supported under NASA contract NAS5-26777.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jwisnie@physics.utoledo.edu

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