IRAS 18357-0604 – an analogue of the galactic yellow hypergiant IRC +10420?

Clark, J. S.; Negueruela, I. and González-Fernández, C. (2014). IRAS 18357-0604 – an analogue of the galactic yellow hypergiant IRC +10420? Astronomy & Astrophysics, 561, article no. A15.



Context. Yellow hypergiants represent a short-lived evolutionary episode experienced by massive stars as they transit to and from a red supergiant phase. As such, their properties provide a critical test of stellar evolutionary theory, while recent observations unexpectedly suggest that a subset may explode as Type II supernovae.

Aims. The galactic yellow hypergiant IRC +10420 is a cornerstone system for understanding this phase since it is the strongest post-RSG candidate known, has demonstrated real-time evolution across the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and been subject to extensive mass loss. In this paper we report on the discovery of a twin of IRC +10420 - IRAS 18357-0604.

Methods. Optical and near-IR spectroscopy are used to investigate the physical properties of IRAS 18357-0604 and also provide an estimate of its systemic velocity, while near- to mid-IR photometry probes the nature of its circumstellar environment.

Results. These observations reveal pronounced spectral similarities between IRAS 18357-0604 and IRC +10420, suggesting comparable temperatures and wind geometries. IR photometric data reveals a similarly dusty circumstellar environment, although historical mass loss appears to have been heavier in IRC +10420. The systemic velocity implies a distance compatible with the red supergiant-dominated complex at the base of the Scutum Crux arm; the resultant luminosity determination is consistent with a physical association but suggests a lower initial mass than inferred for IRC +10420 (≲20 M versus ~40 M). Evolutionary predictions for the physical properties of supernova progenitors derived from ~18–20 M stars – or ~12–15 M stars that have experienced enhanced mass loss as red supergiants – compare favourably with those of IRAS 18357-0604, which in turn appears to be similar to the the progenitor of SN2011dh; it may therefore provide an important insight into the nature of the apparently H-depleted yellow hypergiant progenitors of some Type IIb SNe.

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