Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

MWC560—a unique astrophysical object


DESPITE its interesting behaviour1,2, the object MWC560 has been little studied since its discovery 50 years ago during the Mount Wilson Observatory Hα emission-line surveys3. To rectify this situation we have made systematic spectral and photometric observations of this star. Spectra of the hydrogen absorption Balmer lines show remarkable variability: they indicate that some components have radial velocities as large as −6,000 km s−1, and the profiles are complex, showing pronounced variability on times-cales of a few days. Photometric observations show that the V-band brightness of the star has risen by about three magnitudes over the past 20 years; during our own observations, this brightness was seen to change by a few tenths of a magnitude. We speculate that MWC560 may be a binary system containing a red giant and a compact companion—possibly a white dwarf—and exhibiting jet-like ejections along the line of sight4.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Sanduleak, N. & Stephenson, C. B. Astrophys. J. 185, 899–913 (1973).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Bond, H. E., Pier, J., Pilachowski, C., Slovak, M. & Szkody, P. Bull. Am. astr. Soc. 16, 516 (1984).

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Merrill, P. W. & Burwell, C. G. Astrophys. J. 98, 153–198 (1943).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Tomov, T. IAU Circ. No. 4955 (1990).

  5. Borcowski, J. ReWiA-Instrukcja Obskugi (in Polish) (Torun Observatory, 1988).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Michalitsianos, A. G., Maran, S. P. & Oliversen, R. IAU Circ. No. 4959 (1990).

  7. Michalitsianos, A. G., Maran, S. P., Oliversen, R. & Bopp, B. IAU Circ. No. 4978 (1990).

  8. Buckley, D. A. H., Laney, D., Lloyd Evans, T. & van Wyk, F. IAU Circ. No. 4980 (1990).

  9. Sanduleak, N. IAU Circ. No. 4997 (1990).

  10. Lynch, D. K., Rudy, R. J., Rossano, G. S., Erwin, P. & Puetter, R. C. IAU Circ. No. 5009 (1990).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tomov, T., Kolev, D., Georgiev, L. et al. MWC560—a unique astrophysical object. Nature 346, 637–638 (1990).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing