Discovery of two new Galactic candidate luminous blue variables with WISE

V.V. Gvaramadze, (...), H. Todt, W.-R. Hamann, et al.

We report the discovery of two new Galactic candidate luminous blue variable (cLBV) stars via detection of circular shells (typical of known confirmed and cLBVs) and follow-up spectroscopy of their central stars. The shells were detected at 22μm in the archival data of the Mid-Infrared All Sky Survey carried out with the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Follow-up optical spectroscopy of the central stars of the shells conducted with the renewed Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) showed that their spectra are very similar to those of the well-known LBVs P Cygni and AG Car, and the recently discovered cLBV MN112, which implies the LBV classification for these stars as well. The LBV classification of both stars is supported by detection of their significant photometric variability: one of them brightened in the R- and I-bands by 0.68 ± 0.10 mag and 0.61 ± 0.04 mag, respectively, during the last 13-18 years, while the second one (known as Hen 3-1383) varies its B, V, R, I and Ks brightnesses by ~0.5 - 0.9 mag on time-scales from 10 days to decades. We also found significant changes in the spectrum of Hen 3-1383 on a timescale of ~3 months, which provides additional support for the LBV classification of this star. Further spectrophotometric monitoring of both stars is required to firmly prove their LBV status. We discuss a connection between the location of massive stars in the field and their fast rotation, and suggest that the LBV activity of the newly discovered cLBVs might be directly related to their possible runaway status.

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