Thank again everybody for the nice (and hopefully productive) week we have spent together on la Palma. Below, you will find links to:

  • Instructions for the Proceedings (strict dead-line June the 20th);
  • Conference pictures;
  • The mail list is active. Any email sent to this list is distributed among all participants of the conference. Should you want to remove, change, or add addresses, just send an email to;
  • Updated conference programme including .ppt, .pps, .pdf, ... files of the talks/posters. Please send us your contribution in the format that you prefer, if you like to have posted it here;
  • Latest gif animation of the HST light echo images (courtesy Howard Bond).
  • Excerpts from newspapers;

  • Conference picture

    The 2002 outburst of V838 Monocerotis has been one of the major hits in stellar astrophysics in recent years. The object is the most studied member of an exciting class of rare objects undergoing tremendous stellar explosions, so powerful as to make V838 Mon at peak brightness one of the most luminous stars in the whole Local Group (at M_V=-10 mag). These outbursts eject so much material into the surrounding space that they have not been seen to reach optically thin conditions. Thus the star expands to hypergiant dimensions while cooling down to the brown-dwarf temperature regime. Other objects similar to V838 Mon are M31-RV, which exploded in 1988 in the Andromeda galaxy, and V4332 Sgr which erupted in 1994 in our Galaxy. V838 Mon progenitor must have been massive and young, given the presence of a normal B3V companion. It lies close to the galactic plane in the outskirts of our Galaxy in the anti-center direction.

    The eruption of V838 Mon was discovered on January 2002 (cf. IAUC 7785). A list of the refereed papers devoted to V838 Mon published so far is available here. V838 Mon has displayed a complex light curve characterized by multiple maxima of very different colors, a very red spectral energy distribution, a long phase during which the optical brightness was below the quiescence value while the star remained very bright in the near-IR, and a recent re-warming accompanied by a recovery of the optical luminosity.
    The spectral evolution of V838 Mon was as peculiar as its light curve. In spite of large ejection velocities at the outburst onset (~500 km/sec), the expanding ejecta never reached optically thin conditions. It remained optically thick and got cooler and cooler with time,  initially mimicking a K giant, then making a complete excursion along the whole sequence of M giant spectra down to M10, and finally entering the new realm of L-type supergiants, a spectral type never seen before anywhere in the Universe and characterized by temperatures so low that were previously measured only in brown dwarfs.

    Besides this, V838 Mon became one of the major attractions in stellar astrophysics over the last few years  by displaying a 2 arcmin wide bright circumstellar light-echo, the first one seen in our Galaxy in the last 70 years. At the peak of its development around 2003, it was so bright that it became a favourite object even for amateur-sized telescopes. HST soon started  monitoring the light-echo evolution (with eye-catching images appearing even on the front cover of Nature 422, 405 - 2003). These are set to continue during the next observing season, starting in October 2005, when V838 Mon will emerge from its seasonal conjunction with the Sun.

    Little consensus has been reached so far on the nature and causes of the outburst of V838 Mon. The interpretations published in the literature cover a wide range of possibilities such as the swallowing of giant planets, merging of the components of a binary star, surface helium flash in a highly evolved and very massive star and a highly degenerate hydrogen flash in a low mass, cool and very slowly accreting white dwarf.

    Given the many important questions opened by the intensive study of V838 Mon in the last three years, a conference dedicated to the subject is planned for May 16-19, 2006, on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain).
    The Conference aims to bring together researchers interested in V838 Mon and related stars, in light-echos, in the atmospheres and chemistry of very cool giant stars, in circumstellar cocoons, in the latest evolutionary stages of very massive stars and in the various alternative scenarios proposed to account for the unique properties of V838 Mon and its associates. One main goal of the coinference is to compare observational evidence and theoretical interpretations, so as to gain a better understanding of the V838 Mon phenomenon. Another objective is to foster cooperation and coordination of future observational and modelling efforts, both concerning its still active outburst phase and in view of the return to quiescence conditions in the years to come.
    Therefore the conference topics include:
      * Photometric evolution, optical and IR
      * Spectroscopic evolution, optical and IR
      * L-supergiant spectra, interpretation, molecular chemistry
      * Structure and evolution of mass loss in early phases
      * Polarimetry and spectropolarimetry
      * Pre-Outburst properties and progenitor
      * The B3V companion
      * Young stars in the outskirts of the Galaxy
      * The circumstellar cocoon
      * The interstellar medium toward and around
      * The light echo structure and evolution
      * Distance from light-echo evolution
      * Evolutionary status of the outbursting component
      * Models of the outburst
      * Similar and related objects (e.g. M31-RV, V4332 Sgr)

    The SOC of the Conference is composed by:

      Nagarhalli Ashok
      Howard Bond
      Romano Corradi (co-chair) Spain
      Silvano Desidera
      Aneurin Evans
      Arne Henden
      Tonu Kipper
      Ulisse Munari (co-chair) Italy
      Noam Soker
      Sumner Starrfield
      Oscar Straniero
      Jacco van Loon
      Patricia Whitelock

    The Conference' Proceedings will be edited by R.L.M.Corradi & U.Munari and published is the ASP (Astronomical Society of the Pacific) Conference Series.

    The conference, organized by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes with financial support from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, will be held in the Hotel H10 Taburiente Playa in Los Cancajos, a quiet beach resort located between the airport and the capital Santa Cruz de La Palma. We expect most participants to be based in the hotel, which offers very attractive prices for participants (even cheaper accommodation is available in the attached H10 Costa Salinas Apartments that belong to the same hotel chain).  Click on accomodation to know how to book the hotel.

    The registration fee has been fixed at 200 Euros, and is payable in cash upon arrival at the conference. It is expected to cover the Proceedings book, coffee breaks, and all social events (social dinner, excursions).

    We are applying to various funding agencies. If these applications are successful, financial help might be available for applicants who are short of funding.

    The most important dates and deadlines are:
      * Nov 15 2005 for early registration
      * Feb 15 2006 for late registration
      * Mar 15 2006 closing of abstract book
      * Apr 15 2006 block booking of hotel rooms expires
      * June 20 2006 for submitting the contributions to the Proceedings (strict)

    The scientific program will be finalized by SOC after the registration by the participants has been completed. Plenty of time  for discussion will be allocated during the conference.

    A booklet with the abstract of scheduled talks and posters will be sent to press by April 15 and distributed at the Conference.

    Romano Corradi & Ulisse Munari (Co-chairs, SOC & LOC)