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The environment of M85 optical transient 2006-1 : constraints on the progenitor age and mass

Ofek, E. O. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Rau, A. and Cenko, S. B. and Peng, E. W. and Blakeslee, J. P. and Côté, P. and Ferrarese, L. and Jordán, A. and Meinardi, S. and Puzia, T. and Bradley, L. D. and Magee, D. and Bouwens, R. (2008) The environment of M85 optical transient 2006-1 : constraints on the progenitor age and mass. Astrophysical Journal, 674 (1). pp. 447-450. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1086/524350.

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M85 Optical Transient 2006-1 (M85 OT 2006-1) is the most luminous member of the small family of V838 Mon-like objects, whose nature is still a mystery. This event took place in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies and peaked at an absolute magnitude of MI ≈ -13. Here we present Hubble Space Telescope images of M85 OT 2006-1 and its environment, taken before and after the eruption, along with a spectrum of the host galaxy at the transient location. We find that the progenitor of M85 OT 2006-1 was not associated with any star-forming region. The g- and z-band absolute magnitudes of the progenitor were fainter than about –4 and –6 mag, respectively. Therefore, we can set a lower limit of ~50 Myr on the age of the youngest stars at the location of the progenitor that corresponds to a mass of <7 M⊙. Previously published line indices suggest that M85 has a mean stellar age of 1.6 ± 0.3 Gyr. If this mean age is representative of the progenitor of M85 OT 2006-1, then we can further constrain its mass to be less than 2 M⊙. We compare the energetics and mass limit derived for the M85 OT 2006-1 progenitor with those expected from a simple model of violent stellar mergers. Combined with further modeling, these new clues may ultimately reveal the true nature of these puzzling events.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Ofek, E. O.0000-0002-6786-8774
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Rau, A.0000-0001-5990-6243
Cenko, S. B.0000-0003-1673-970X
Côté, P.0000-0003-1184-8114
Puzia, T.0000-0003-0350-7061
Bouwens, R.0000-0002-4989-2471
Additional Information:© 2008 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 July 12; accepted 2007 October 9. This work is supported in part by grants from NSF and NASA.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:stars: individual (M85 OT 2006-1, V838 Mon, M31 RV, V4332 Sgr)
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090407-085637117
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13861
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 Jul 2009 21:16
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:41

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