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Special Notice #291: Brightening of LBV HDE 269006 = R71

July 26, 2012: The luminous blue variable (LBV) HDE 269006 = R71 in the Large Magellanic Cloud is brightening and is currently at V magnitude 8.3.

Observations in the AAVSO International Database going back to 1987 show HDE 269006 at visual magnitude ~10.8 until 2006, when it began to brighten, reaching magnitude ~8.5 in late 2009. It then declined to ~magnitude 9 by late 2012, where it has been since then.

All observations of this LBV are welcome. In particular, VBRI photometry would be very valuable in the coming seasons to correlate with the spectra being obtained now and multiwavelength observations sure to be obtained in the future, and to document the optical behavior of HDE 269006 at this time in its history.

According to IAU Central Bureau Electronic Telegram 3192 (Daniel W. E. Green, Ed.), "R. Gamen, Instituto de Astrofisica de La Plata, CONICET, Universidad Nacional de la Plata; N. Walborn, Space Telescope Science Institute; N. Morrell, Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Observatories; R. Barba, Instituto de Ciencias Astronomicas y de la Tierra, CONICET, San Juan; and E. Fernandez Lajus, Instituto de Astrofisica de La Plata, CONICET, Universidad Nacional de la Plata, write that the luminous blue variable HDE 269006 (= R71) in the Large Magellanic Cloud continues to brighten in the visual since their last report in 2009 (IAUC 9082), when it was at magnitude V = 9. Differential photometry from images obtained in Apr. 2012 shows that R71 has brightened by 0.6 mag in V since Apr. 2010 and is currently at V approximately 8.3. This unprecedented rise in its light curve is accompanied by spectacular variations in its optical spectrum. In Aug. 2009, it resembled a (peculiar) early-F supergiant, while currently R71 displays early-G supergiant characteristics, on the basis of ionization ratios of absorption lines such as Fe I/Fe II as well as the strength and width of the Ca II H and K absorption lines. Concurrently, H-alpha has transformed from a P-Cyg profile into a centrally reversed, symmetrical broad emission (alternatively, an absorption line with symmetrical emission wings), while the Ca II infrared triplet (849.8-, 854.2-, and 866.2-nm) emission has declined and strong forbidden [Ca II] 729.1- and 732.4-nm emission lines have appeared -- along with weaker ones of [O I-II], [N II], and [S II]. This is the first report of [Ca II] emission in an apparent S Dor event to their knowledge and suggests comparison with the red transients (Humphreys et al. 2011, Ap.J. 743, 118). R71 is previously known to have an unusually strong dust signature in the infrared (Bonanos et al. 2009, A.J. 138, 1003, and references therein). Further monitoring is indicated to determine the nature and outcome of the current event." [extensive quotation from CBET 3192 by permission of D. Green]

Coordinates: 05 02 07.39 -71 20 13.1 (2000.0)

Charts for this star may be created using the AAVSO Variable Star Plotter (http://www.aavso.org/vsp). Be sure to use the name HD 269006 (do not use HDE 269006).

Please report your observations to the AAVSO International Datbase as HD 269006.

This AAVSO Special Notice was compiled by Elizabeth O. Waagen.

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