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See detailThe yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A: Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase
Chesneau, O.; Meilland, A.; Chapellier, E. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 563

Context. Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer ... [more ▼]

Context. Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer phase. Aims: We initiated long-term optical interferometry monitoring of the diameters of massive and unstable yellow hypergiants (YHG) with the goal of detecting both the long-term evolution of their radius and shorter term formation of a possible pseudo-photosphere related to proposed large mass-loss events. Methods: We observed HR 5171 A with AMBER/VLTI. We also examined archival photometric data in the visual and near-IR spanning more than 60 years, as well as sparse spectroscopic data. Results: HR 5171 Aexhibits a complex appearance. Our AMBER data reveal a surprisingly large star for a YHG R∗ = 1315 ± 260R⊙ (or ~6.1 AU) at the distance of 3.6 ± 0.5 kpc. The source is surrounded by an extended nebulosity, and these data also show a large level of asymmetry in the brightness distribution of the system, which we attribute to a newly discovered companion star located in front of the primary star. The companion's signature is also detected in the visual photometry, which indicates an orbital period of Porb = 1304 ± 6 d. Modeling the light curve with the NIGHTFALL program provides clear evidence that the system is a contact or possibly over-contact eclipsing binary. A total current system mass of 39^+40_-22 M⊙ and a high mass ratio q ≥ 10 is inferred for the system. Conclusions: The low-mass companion of HR 5171 is very close to the primary star that is embedded within its dense wind. Tight constraints on the inclination and vsini of the primary are lacking, which prevents us from determining its influence precisely on the mass-loss phenomenon, but the system is probably experiencing a wind Roche-Lobe overflow. Depending on the amount of angular momentum that can be transferred to the stellar envelope, HR 5171 A may become a fast-rotating B[e]/luminous blue variable/Wolf-Rayet star. In any case, HR 5171 A highlights the possible importance of binaries for interpreting the unstable YHGs and for massive star evolution in general. [less ▲]

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See detailMatisse
Lopez, B.; Lagarde, S.; Wolf, S. et al

in Moorwood, 1 (Ed.) Science with the VLT in the ELT Era (2009)

MATISSE is foreseen as a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four UTs/ATs of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). MATISSE will measure closure phase relations and ... [more ▼]

MATISSE is foreseen as a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four UTs/ATs of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). MATISSE will measure closure phase relations and thus offer an efficient capability for image reconstruction in the L, M and N bands of the mid-infrared domain. [less ▲]

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See detailMATISSE Science Cases
Wolf, S.; Lopez, B.; Jaffe, W. et al

in Moorwood, A. (Ed.) Science with the VLT in the ELT Era (2009)

MATISSE is foreseen as a mid-infrared spectro-interferometric instrument combining the beams of up to four UTs/ATs of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). MATISSE will measure closure phase ... [more ▼]

MATISSE is foreseen as a mid-infrared spectro-interferometric instrument combining the beams of up to four UTs/ATs of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). MATISSE will measure closure phase relations and thus offer an efficient capability for image reconstruction. In addition to this, MATISSE will open 2 new observing windows at the VLTI: the L and M band in addition to the N band. Furthermore, the instrument will offer the possibility to perform simultaneous observations in separate bands. MATISSE will also provide several spectroscopic modes. In summary, MATISSE can be seen as a successor of MIDI by providing imaging capabilities in the mid-infrared domain (for a more detailed description of MATISSE see Lopez et al., these proceedings). [less ▲]

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