Active Luminous Blue Variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Walborn, Nolan R.; Gamen, Roberto C.; Morrell, Nidia I.; Barbá, Rodolfo H.; Fernández Lajús, Eduardo; Angeloni, Rodolfo
The Astronomical Journal, Volume 154, Issue 1, article id. 15, 26 pp. (2017).


We present extensive spectroscopic and photometric monitoring of two famous and currently highly active luminous blue variables (LBVs) in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), together with more limited coverage of three further, lesser known members of the class. R127 was discovered as an Ofpe/WN9 star in the 1970s but entered a classical LBV outburst in or about 1980 that is still in progress, thus enlightening us about the minimum state of such objects. R71 is currently the most luminous star in the LMC and continues to provide surprises, such as the appearance of [Ca ii] emission lines, as its spectral type becomes unprecedentedly late. Most recently, R71 has developed inverse P Cyg profiles in many metal lines. The other objects are as follows: HDE 269582, now a “second R127” that has been followed from Ofpe/WN9 to A type in its current outburst; HDE 269216, which changed from late B in 2014 to AF in 2016, its first observed outburst; and R143 in the 30 Doradus outskirts. The light curves and spectroscopic transformations are correlated in remarkable detail and their extreme reproducibility is emphasized, both for a given object and among all of them. It is now believed that some LBVs proceed directly to core collapse. One of these unstable LMC objects may thus oblige in the near future, teaching us even more about the final stages of massive stellar evolution.