Author ORCID Identifier

Wagner, Mark: 0000-0003-1892-2751

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Luminous Red Variables are most likely eruptions that are the outcome of stellar mergers. V838 Mon is one of the best-studied members of this class, representing an archetype for stellar mergers resulting from B-type stars. As result of the merger event, nova-like eruptions occur driving mass loss from the system. As the gas cools considerable circumstellar dust is formed. V838 Mon erupted in 2002 and is undergoing very dynamic changes in its dust composition, geometry, and infrared luminosity providing a real-time laboratory to validate mineralogical condensation sequences in stellar mergers and evolutionary scenarios. We discuss recent NASA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy 5-38 mu m observations combined with archival NASA Spitzer spectra that document the temporal evolution of the freshly formed (within the last less than or similar to 20 yr) circumstellar material in the environs of V838 Mon. Changes in the 10 mu m spectral region are strong evidence that we are witnessing a classical dust condensation sequence expected to occur in oxygen-rich environments where alumina formation is followed by that of silicates at the temperature cools.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Astronomical Journal