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Michael S. Gordon

Luminous and Variable Stars in M31 and M33. IV. Luminous Blue Variables, Candidate LBVs, B[e] Supergiants, and the Warm Hypergiants: How to Tell Them Apart
Humphreys, Roberta M.; Gordon, Michael S.; Martin, John C.; Weis, Kerstin; Hahn, David, The Astrophysical Journal

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In this series of papers we have presented the results of a spectroscopic survey of luminous stars in the nearby spirals M31 and M33. Here, we present spectroscopy of 132 additional stars. Most have emission-line spectra, including luminous blue variables (LBVs) and candidate LBVs, Fe ii emission line stars, the B[e] supergiants, and the warm hypergiants. Many of these objects are spectroscopically similar and are often confused with each other. We examine their similarities and differences and propose the following guidelines that can be used to help distinguish these stars in future work. (1) The B[e] supergiants have emission lines of [O i] and [Fe ii] in their spectra. Most of the spectroscopically confirmed sgB[e] stars also have warm circumstellar dust in their spectral energy distributions (SEDs). (2) Confirmed LBVs do not have the [O i] emission lines in their spectra. Some LBVs have [Fe ii] emission lines, but not all. Their SEDs show free-free emission in the near-infrared but no evidence for warm dust. Their most important and defining characteristic is the S Dor-type variability. (3) The warm hypergiants spectroscopically resemble the LBVs in their dense wind state and the B[e] supergiants. However, they are very dusty. Some have [Fe ii] and [O i] emission in their spectra like the sgB[e] stars, but are distinguished by their A- and F-type absorption-line spectra. In contrast, the B[e] supergiant spectra have strong continua and few if any apparent absorption lines. Candidate LBVs should share the spectral characteristics of the confirmed LBVs with low outflow velocities and the lack of warm circumstellar dust.