V605 aquilae: The older twin of Sakurai's object

Geoffrey C. Clayton, Louisiana State University
F. Kerber, European Southern Observatory
N. Pirzkal, Space Telescope Science Institute
O. De Marco, American Museum of Natural History
P. A. Crowther, The University of Sheffield
J. M. Fedrow, Maria Mitchell Association


New optical spectra have been obtained with VLT/FORS2 of the final helium shell flash (FF) star, V605 Aql, which peaked in brightness in 1919. New models suggest that this star is experiencing a very late thermal pulse. The evolution to a cool luminous giant and then back to a compact hot star takes place in only a few years. V605 Aql, the central star of the planetary nebula (PN) A58, has evolved from Teff ∼ 5000 K in 1921 to ∼ 95,000 K today. There are indications that the new FF star, Sakurai's object (V4334 Sgr), which appeared in 1996, is evolving along a similar path. The abundances of Sakurai's object today and V605 Aql 80 years ago mimic the hydrogen-deficient R Coronae Bureali's (RGB) stars, with 98% He and 1% C. The new spectra show that V605 Aql has stellar abundances similar to those seen in Wolf-Rayet [WC] central stars of PNe, with ∼55% He, and ∼40% C. The stellar spectrum of V605 Aql can be seen even though the star is not directly detected. Therefore, we may be seeing the spectrum in light scattered around the edge of a thick torus of dust seen edge-on. In the present state of evolution of V605 Aql, we may be seeing the not too distant future of Sakurai's object. © 2006. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.