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The R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars are cool supergiants that display irregular and deep dips in their light curves, caused by dust formation. There are four known hot RCB stars (DY Cen, MV Sgr, V348 Sgr, and HV 2671), with surface temperatures of 15 000-25 000 K, and prior work has suggested that three of these have secular fading in brightness. I have tested this result by measuring century-long light curves in the Johnson B band with modern comparison star magnitudes, and I have extended this by measuring many magnitudes over a wide time range as well as for the fourth hot RCB star. In all four cases, the B band magnitude of the maximum light is now fast fading. The fading rates (in units of magnitudes per century) are 2.5 for DY Cen after 1960, 1.3 for MV Sgr, 1.3 for V348 Sgr, and 0.7 for HV 2671. This secular fading is caused by the expected evolution of the star across the top of the Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagram at constant luminosity, as the temperature rises and the bolometric correction changes. For DY Cen, the brightness at maximum light is rising from 1906 to 1932, and this is caused by the temperature increase from near 5800 to 7500 K. Before 1934, DY Cen had frequent dust dips, while after 1934 there are zero dust dips, so there is some apparent connection between the rising temperature and the formation of the dust. Thus, we have watched DY Cen evolve from an ordinary RCB star up to a hot RCB star and now appearing as an extreme helium star, all in under one century.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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