Dramatic change in Sakurai's object

(vsnet-alert 801)

In IAUC No. 6601 (1997 Mar. 24), F. Kerber and H. Gratl reported dramatic changes in the spectrum of Sakurai's object discovered about a year ago. (cf. http://www.kusastro.kyoto-u.ac.jp/vsnet/Novae/nsgr96sakurai.html) They reported the appearance of prominent lines of C2 Swan bands and the weakening of hydrogen lines. The very feature was what was observed just preceding the unexpected dramatic fading of FG Sge, another star which is also supected to be undergoing a final He-flash. The premaximum light curve of Sakurai's object suggests that its evolution of the flash is much more rapid than that of FG Sge, but rather resembling V605 Aql, which showed optical fadings within a few years of the eruption.

Please keep a close eye on Sakurai's object to see whether similar fading will occur in near future. Infrared and UV observations and polarimetry would be especially of value in interpreting the expected event.

Taichi Kato

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