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Astron. Astrophys. 349, 126-134 (1999)

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Revealing the nature of the B[e] star MWC 342

Anatoly Miroshnichenko 1,2 and Patrice Corporon 3

1 Central Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 196140 Saint-Petersburg, Russia
2 Ritter Observatory, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA
3 Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. A, Montréal, H3C 3J7, Canada

Received 15 March 1999 / Accepted 19 July 1999


We carried out an analysis of existing multicolor photometry and optical spectroscopy of MWC 342, a B[e] star with an uncertain evolutionary state. The star shows a gradual brightening in the optical and near-IR regions, while its Balmer lines demonstrate a relative stability of their shapes over the last 50 years. Recent high-resolution spectroscopic observations did not reveal the presence of photospheric lines. The hypotheses about the nature of MWC 342 suggested in the literature are briefly discussed. It is shown that the object's properties, such as the Balmer line profiles and shapes of the IR excess, are similar to those of several other B[e] stars including MWC 84 = CI Cam, which underwent a strong outburst in April 1998. We suggest that MWC 342 is likely to be an evolved object, perhaps a binary system with a compact secondary, which may also undergo an outburst in the nearest future.

Key words: techniques: photometric – techniques: spectroscopic – stars: circumstellar matter – stars: emission-line, Be – stars: individual: MWC 342

Send offprint requests to: A.S. Miroshnichenko (anatoly@physics.utoledo.edu)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: August 25, 1999