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J. M. Fedrow (Evergreen State Coll. & Maria Mitchell Obs.), G. C. Clayton (LSU & Maria Mitchell Obs.), P. A. Crowther (U. of Sheffield), F. Kerber (ST-ECF, ESO)
V605 Aql is a unique object in our Galaxy. It was first observed in 1919 when it underwent its Helium Final Flash. However, in just three years it disappeared from view due to the production of thick dust clouds around its photosphere; a characteristic of the R Coronae Borealis (RCB) class of stars. It remained shrouded in dust and mystery until 1986 when it was re-acquired as a 22nd magnitude star. Recently, we obtained a new high S/N spectrum of V605 Aql with the ESO 8.2 meter VLT. Before this spectrum was taken, there were many questions regarding this star: what is its current effective temperature? Can the final helium shell flash account for the formation of RCB stars? Are RCB stars related to the WC central stars? By analyzing this spectrum and computer modeling, we hope to have finally peeled back V605 Aql’s shroud of mystery. We have shown that V605 Aql’s effective temperature has increased from 5,000 K to 100,000 K in just over 80 years, a very rapid rate of evolution. Also, the abundances of carbon and oxygen in V605 Aql seem to be different from both the WC central stars of Planetary Nebulae and from the RCB stars. This project was supported by the NSF/REU grant AST-0354056 and the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.