Sakurai's Object

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Sakurai's Object
V4334 Sagittarii
Sakurai's Object, by Hilmar Duerbeck, ESO
Observation data
Epoch J2000.0      Equinox J2000.0 (ICRS)
Constellation Sagittarius
Right ascension 17h 52m 32.69s[1]
Declination −17° 41′ 08.0″[1]
Spectral type S...D[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 10.90[1]
Apparent magnitude (J) 11.555 ± 0.022[1]
B−V color index 8.80[1]
Distance 1800-5000[2] pc
Mass 0.6[3] M
Other designations
V4334 Sgr, V4334 Sagittarii, 2MASS J17523269-1741080, DPV 1, Sakurai's variable, PN G010.4+04.4, GSC2 S2202011182877, Sakurai's Object, AAVSO 1746-17
Database references

Coordinates: Sky map 17h 52m 32.69s, −17° 41′ 08.0″

Sakurai's Object (V4334 Sgr) is a star in the constellation of Sagittarius named after Yukio Sakurai, a Japanese amateur astronomer, who discovered it in 1996. It is a star which has undergone a Very Late Thermal Pulse.

Sakurai's Object is thought to be a red giant star that was previously a white dwarf; a Very Late Thermal Pulse occurred during the white dwarf phase and caused it to swell back to a giant configuration. These types of objects, of which only a handful have been observed, become hydrogen deficient and enriched in helium and other metals.[4] It is expected that these stars will end up as helium rich white dwarves after retracing their evolution track from the "born-again" giant phase back to the white dwarf cooling track.

Sakurai's Object is one of only two stars observed during the high luminosity phase of a Very Late Thermal Pulse, the other being V605 Aquilae which was discovered in 1919.[2] There are few other suspected "born-again" objects; one example being FG Sagittae.[4]

Observation history[edit]

An International Astronomical Union Circular sent on February 23, 1996 announced the discovery of a “possible ’slow’ nova” of magnitude 11.4 by Yukio Sakurai, an amateur astronomer.[5] Japanese astronomer Syuichi Nakano reported the discovery, drawing attention to the fact that the object had not been visible in images from 1993 nor in Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics records for the years 1930-1951 despite it appearing to slowly brighten over the previous year. Nakano wrote that “While the outburst [suggests] a slow or symbiotic nova, the lack of obvious emission lines one year after brightening is very unusual.”[6]

Following the initial announcement, Hilmar Duerbeck et al. published a study investigating the ‘possible final helium flash’ seen by Sakurai. In it, they noted that the location of Sakurai’s Object corresponded to a faint object detected in 1976 of magnitude 21, and discussed other observations in the years 1994–1996, by which time the magnitude had increased to around 11–15.[7] By investigating the measured fluxes, angular diameter, and mass of the nebula, a distance of 5.5kpc and luminosity of 38 L was determined. The researchers noted that this was in agreement with appearance and model predictions[8] and that the outburst luminosity was in the area of 3100 solar luminosities; lower than predicted by a factor of 3.

The first infrared observations were published in 1998, in which both near and far infrared spectroscopy was presented. The collected data showed Sakurai's Object brightening over the year of observations as expected and the researchers found that circumstellar dust was present at a temperature of ~680K.[9] Further infrared data, taken using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, was published in 2000 in which findings of the changing absorption lines were discussed.[10][11]


Sakurai's Object is classed as a post-asymptotic giant branch star which has, following a brief period on the white dwarf cooling track, undergone a helium shell flash (also known as a very late thermal pulse).[12] The star is thought to have a mass of around 0.6 M.[3]

Dust cloud[edit]

See also: Cosmic dust

During the second half of 1998 an optically thick dust shell obscured Sakurai's Object, causing a rapid decrease in visibility of the star, until in 1999 it disappeared from optical wavelength observations altogether.[13] Infrared observations showed that the dust cloud around the star is primarily carbon in an amorphous form.[14] In 2009 it was discovered that the dust shell is strongly asymmetrical, as a disc with a major axis oriented at an angle of 134°, and inclination of around 75°. The disc is thought to be growing more opaque due to the fast spectral evolution of the source towards lower temperatures.[15][16]

Planetary nebula[edit]

Sakurai's Object is surrounded by a planetary nebula created following the star's red giant phase around 8300 years ago.[17] It has been determined that the nebula has a diameter of 44 arcseconds and expansion velocity of roughly 32 km/s.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "SIMBAD Database entry for V4334 Sgr". SIMBAD. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b van Hoof, P. A. M.; Hajduk, M. (2007). "The onset of photoionization in Sakurai’s Object (V4334 Sagittarii)". Astronomy & Astrophysics 471: L9–L12. arXiv:0706.3857. Bibcode:2007A&A...471L...9V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20077932. 
  3. ^ a b Herwig, Falk (2011). "Convective-reactive proton-12C combustion in Sakurai's Object (V4334 Sagittarii) and implications for the evolution and yields from the first generations of stars". The Astrophysical Journal 727: 89. arXiv:1002.2241. Bibcode:2011ApJ...727...89H. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/727/2/89. 
  4. ^ a b Lawlor, T.M.; MacDonald, J. (February 2003). "Sakurai's Object, V605 Aquilae, and FG Sagittae: An Evolutionary Sequence Revealed". The Astrophysical Journal 583: 913–922. Bibcode:2003ApJ...583..913L. doi:10.1086/345411. 
  5. ^ THE ING NEWSLETTER No. 2, March 2000, Don Pollacco, QUB
  6. ^ Green, Daniel (February 23, 1996). "IAUC 6322: NOVALIKE Var IN Sgr". International Astronomical Union. 
  7. ^ Duerbeck, Hilmar; Benetti, Stefano (September 10, 1996). "Sakurai's Object - A possible Final Helium Flash in a Planetary Nebula Nucleus". The Astrophysical Journal 468: L111-L114. Bibcode:1996ApJ...468L.111D. doi:10.1086/310241. 
  8. ^ Iben, I. (1983). "On the Evolution of Those Nuclei of Planetary-Nebulae That Experience a Final Helium Shell Flash". Astrophysical Journal 264: 605–612. Bibcode:1983ApJ...264..605I. doi:10.1086/160631. 
  9. ^ S. Eyres (1998). "Infrared Spectroscopy of Sakurai’s Object". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 298: L37–L41. Bibcode:1998MNRAS.298L..37E. doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.1998.01898.x. 
  10. ^ Geballe, T. R.; Eyres, S. (2002). "The Infrared Evolution of Sakurai's Object". Astrophysics and Space Science 279: 39–49. arXiv:astro-ph/0102043. Bibcode:2002Ap&SS.279...39G. doi:10.1023/a:1014683521291. 
  11. ^ Tyne, V.; Eyres, S. (2000). "The continuing saga of Sakurai's object (V4334 Sgr): dust production and helium line emission". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 315: 595–599. Bibcode:2000MNRAS.315..595T. doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.2000.03412.x. 
  12. ^ Worters, H.; Rushton, M. (2009). "Sakurai’s Object: characterizing the near-infrared CO ejecta between 2003 and 2007". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 393: 108–112. Bibcode:2009MNRAS.393..108W. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.14135.x. 
  13. ^ Pavlenko, Y.V.; Geballe, T.R. (2002). "Models of infrared spectra of Sakurai’s Object (V4334 Sgr) in 1997". Astronomy & Astrophysics 390: 621–626. arXiv:astro-ph/0205528. Bibcode:2002A&A...390..621P. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20020732. 
  14. ^ Tyne, V (2002). "Modelling the dust cloud around Sakurai's Object". Astrophysics and Space Science 279: 139–147. Bibcode:2002Ap&SS.279..139T. doi:10.1023/A:1014672712630. 
  15. ^ Tyne, V (2002). "Sakurai's Object (V4334 Sgr): evolution of the dust shell from 1999 to 2001". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 334: 875–882. Bibcode:2002MNRAS.334..875T. doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.05561.x. 
  16. ^ Chesneau, O.; Clayton, G. (2009). "A dense disk of dust around the born-again Sakurai's object". Astronomy & Astrophysics 493: L17–L20. arXiv:0811.3295. Bibcode:2009A&A...493L..17C. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:200811173. 
  17. ^ Hajduk, M. (2008). "Studying the old planetary nebula of V4334 Sgr". Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series 391: 163–164. 
  18. ^ Pollacco, Don (2002). "Modelling the Planetary Nebula". Astrophysics and Space Science 279: 129–137. Bibcode:2002Ap&SS.279..129P. doi:10.1023/a:1014620711722. 

External links[edit]