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V4334 Sgr (Sakurai's Object): still churning out the dust

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We present a 0.8–2.5 µm spectrum of the Very Late Thermal Pulse object V4334 Sgr (Sakurai’s Object), obtained in 2020 September. The spectrum displays a continuum that rises strongly to longer wavelengths, and is considerably brighter than the most recent published spectrum obtained seven years earlier. At the longer wavelengths the continuum is well fitted by a blackbody with a temperature of 624±8 K. However, there is excess continuum at the shortest wavelengths that we interpret as being due to hot dust that has very recently formed in an environment with C/O ? 2.5. Other possible sources for this excess continuum are discussed – such as the stellar photosphere dimly seen through the dust shell, and light scattered off the inner wall of the dust torus – but these interpretations seem unlikely. Numerous emission lines are present, including those of He i, C i, [C i], and O i. Our observations confirm that emission in the He i 1.083 µm and [C i] 0.9827/0.9852 µm lines is spatially extended. The [C i] line fluxes suggest that the electron density increased by an order of magnitude between 2013 and 2020, and that these two lines may soon disappear from the spectrum. The flux ratio of the 1.083 µm and 2.058 µm He i lines is consistent with the previously-assumed interstellar extinction. The stellar photosphere remains elusive, and the central star may not be as hot as suggested by current evolutionary models.

Acceptance Date Jan 10, 2022
Publication Date Jan 14, 2022
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 713-722
Keywords stars: AGB and post-AGB, stars: carbon, circumstellar matter, stars: evolution, stars: individual: V4334 Sgr (Sakurai’s Object), infrared: stars
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