Eruptions of the V838 Mon type: Stellar merger versus nuclear outburst models

R. Tylenda*, N. Soker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


We discuss various models and scenarios proposed to explain the nature of the V838 Mon type eruptions. In this class of eruptive objects we include: M 31 RV (erupted in 1988), V4332 Sgr (erupted in 1994) and V838 Mon (erupted in 2002). We concentrate on three models: (i) thermonuclear runaway on an accreting white dwarf (nova-like event); (ii) He-shell flash in a post asymptotic giant branch star (born-again AGB); and (iii) merger of stars. We show that models (i) and (ii) cannot account for the majority of the observed properties of the objects. Most significantly, in both nuclear burning type models the object is expected to heat up before declining and fade as a very hot compact star. In the observed eruptions the objects declined as very cool giants or supergiants. We show that the stellar merger model can account for all the observed properties and conclude that presently this is the most promising model to explain the eruptions of the V838 Mon type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-236
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Stars: binaries: general
  • Stars: general
  • Stars: mass loss
  • Stars: pre-main sequence
  • Stars: supergiants
  • Stars: variables: general

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