A Caltech Library Service

A Population of Heavily Reddened, Optically Missed Novae from Palomar Gattini-IR: Constraints on the Galactic Nova Rate

De, Kishalay and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Hankins, Matthew J. and Sokoloski, Jennifer L. and Adams, Scott M. and Ashley, Michael C. B. and Babul, Aliya-Nur and Bagdasaryan, Ashot and Delacroix, Alexandre and Dekany, Richard and Greffe, Timothée and Hale, David and Jencson, Jacob E. and Karambelkar, Viraj R. and Lau, Ryan M. and Mahabal, Ashish and McKenna, Daniel and Moore, Anna M. and Ofek, Eran O. and Sharma, Manasi and Smith, Roger M. and Soon, Jamie and Soria, Roberto and Srinivasaragavan, Gokul and Tinyanont, Samaporn and Travouillon, Tony D. and Tzanidakis, Anastasios and Yao, Yuhan (2021) A Population of Heavily Reddened, Optically Missed Novae from Palomar Gattini-IR: Constraints on the Galactic Nova Rate. Astrophysical Journal, 912 (1). Art. No. 19. ISSN 1538-4357. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abeb75.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The nova rate in the Milky Way remains largely uncertain, despite its vital importance in constraining models of Galactic chemical evolution as well as understanding progenitor channels for Type Ia supernovae. The rate has been previously estimated to be in the range of ≈10–300 yr⁻¹, either based on extrapolations from a handful of very bright optical novae or the nova rates in nearby galaxies; both methods are subject to debatable assumptions. The total discovery rate of optical novae remains much smaller (≈5–10 yr⁻¹) than these estimates, even with the advent of all-sky optical time-domain surveys. Here, we present a systematic sample of 12 spectroscopically confirmed Galactic novae detected in the first 17 months of Palomar Gattini-IR (PGIR), a wide-field near-infrared time-domain survey. Operating in the J band (≈1.2 μm), which is significantly less affected by dust extinction compared to optical bands, the extinction distribution of the PGIR sample is highly skewed to a large extinction values (>50% of events obscured by A_V ≳ 5 mag). Using recent estimates for the distribution of Galactic mass and dust, we show that the extinction distribution of the PGIR sample is commensurate with dust models. The PGIR extinction distribution is inconsistent with that reported in previous optical searches (null-hypothesis probability <0.01%), suggesting that a large population of highly obscured novae have been systematically missed in previous optical searches. We perform the first quantitative simulation of a 3π time-domain survey to estimate the Galactic nova rate using PGIR, and derive a rate of ≈43.7^(+19.5)_(-8.7) yr⁻¹. Our results suggest that all-sky near-infrared time-domain surveys are well poised to uncover the Galactic nova population.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
De, Kishalay0000-0002-8989-0542
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Hankins, Matthew J.0000-0001-9315-8437
Sokoloski, Jennifer L.0000-0003-2835-0304
Adams, Scott M.0000-0001-5855-5939
Ashley, Michael C. B.0000-0003-1412-2028
Babul, Aliya-Nur0000-0001-5491-5423
Dekany, Richard0000-0002-5884-7867
Jencson, Jacob E.0000-0001-5754-4007
Karambelkar, Viraj R.0000-0003-2758-159X
Mahabal, Ashish0000-0003-2242-0244
Moore, Anna M.0000-0002-2894-6936
Ofek, Eran O.0000-0002-6786-8774
Smith, Roger M.0000-0001-7062-9726
Soria, Roberto0000-0002-4622-796X
Tinyanont, Samaporn0000-0002-1481-4676
Travouillon, Tony D.0000-0001-9304-6718
Tzanidakis, Anastasios0000-0003-0484-3331
Yao, Yuhan0000-0001-6747-8509
Alternate Title:A population of heavily reddened, optically missed classical novae from Palomar Gattini-IR: Constraints on the Galactic nova rate
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2021 January 24; revised 2021 February 17; accepted 2021 February 22; published 2021 April 30. We thank R. Williams for assistance with the identification of the NIR spectroscopic features. We thank the anonymous referee for a careful reading of the manuscript and providing several constructive suggestions to improve its quality. We thank M. Darnley, A. Shafter, M. Shara, R.D. Gehrz, L. Bildsten, E.S. Phinney, and S.R. Kulkarni for valuable feedback on this work. We acknowledge with thanks the variable star observations from the AAVSO International Database contributed by observers worldwide and used in this research. PGIR is generously funded by Caltech, Australian National University, the Mt Cuba Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Bi-national Science Foundation. PGIR is a collaborative project among Caltech, Australian National University, University of New South Wales, Columbia University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. M.M.K. acknowledges generous support from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. M.M.K. and E.O. acknowledge the US-Israel Bi-national Science Foundation grant 2016227. M.M.K. and J.L.S. acknowledge the Heising-Simons Foundation for support via a Scialog fellowship of the Research Corporation. M.M.K. and A.M.M. acknowledge the Mt Cuba foundation. J.S. is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. J.L.S. and A.B. acknowledge support from NSF grant AST-1816100. SEDM is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 1106171. Some of the data presented here were obtained with the Visiting Astronomer facility at the Infrared Telescope Facility, which is operated by the University of Hawaii under contract 80HQTR19D0030 with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. This work was supported by the Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) project funded by the National Science Foundation under Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant No. 1545949. GROWTH is a collaborative project among the California Institute of Technology (USA), University of Maryland College Park (USA), University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (USA), Texas Tech University (USA), San Diego State University (USA), University of Washington (USA), Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), National Central University (Taiwan), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (India), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India), Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), The Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University (Sweden), Humboldt University (Germany), Liverpool John Moores University (UK), and University of Sydney (Australia). Facilities: PO: Gattin-IR - , PO: 1.2 m (ZTF) - , PO: 1.5 m (SEDM) - , Hale (DBSP - , TSpec) - , IRTF - , Keck:I (LRIS) - , AAVSO. - Software: astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013), matplotlib (Hunter 2007), SciPy (Virtanen et al. 2020), pysedm (Rigault et al. 2019), pyraf-dbsp (Bellm & Sesar 2016), spextool (Cushing et al. 2004), xtellcor (Vacca et al. 2003), lpipe (Perley 2019).
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian National UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Mt. Cuba Astronomical FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Heising-Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Binational Science Foundation (USA-Israel)2016227
University of New South WalesUNSPECIFIED
Columbia UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Weizmann Institute of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Education, Skills and Employment (Australia) UNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Classical novae; Novae; Cataclysmic variable stars; White dwarf stars; Interstellar dust extinction
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Classical novae (251); Novae (1127); Cataclysmic variable stars (203); White dwarf stars (1799); Interstellar dust extinction (837)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210204-092712042
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Kishalay De et al 2021 ApJ 912 19
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:107905
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Feb 2021 20:41
Last Modified:03 May 2021 21:34

Repository Staff Only: item control page