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We have obtained long-slit far-ultraviolet (1150-1730 Å) spectra of the R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars V854 Cen and RY Sgr near maximum light and pulsational phase zero with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The far-UV spectrum of each star shows a photospheric continuum rising steeply toward longer wavelengths and a prominent emission feature at C II λ1335. RY Sgr displays a second, but fainter, emission attributed to Cl I λ1351 (which is radiatively fluoresced by C II λ1335), but Cl I is weak or absent in V854 Cen. Most surprisingly, the C II emission of V854 Cen is significantly extended along the slit by ±2″.5, about 6 × 103 AU at the distance of the star. The C II feature of RY Sgr exhibits no such gross extension. Nevertheless, subtle broadenings of the C II emissions beyond the point response profile suggest inner clouds of radius ∼0″.1 (250 AU) around both stars. V854 Cen is only the third RCB star after R CrB and UW Cen known to have a resolved shell.

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Astrophysical Journal

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