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Discovery of a New Photometric Sub-class of Faint and Fast Classical Novae

Kasliwal, M. M. and Cenko, S. B. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Ofek, E. O. and Quimby, R. and Rau, A. (2011) Discovery of a New Photometric Sub-class of Faint and Fast Classical Novae. Astrophysical Journal, 735 (2). Art. No. 94. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We present photometric and spectroscopic follow-up of a sample of extragalactic novae discovered by the Palomar 60 inch telescope during a search for "Fast Transients In Nearest Galaxies" (P60-FasTING). Designed as a fast cadence (1 day) and deep (g < 21 mag) survey, P60-FasTING was particularly sensitive to short-lived and faint optical transients. The P60-FasTING nova sample includes 10 novae in M 31, 6 in M 81, 3 in M 82, 1 in NGC 2403, and 1 in NGC 891. This significantly expands the known sample of extragalactic novae beyond the Local Group, including the first discoveries in a starburst environment. Surprisingly, our photometry shows that this sample is quite inconsistent with the canonical maximum-magnitude-rate-of-decline (MMRD) relation for classical novae. Furthermore, the spectra of the P60-FasTING sample are indistinguishable from classical novae. We suggest that we have uncovered a sub-class of faint and fast classical novae in a new phase space in luminosity-timescale of optical transients. Thus, novae span two orders of magnitude in both luminosity and time. Perhaps the MMRD, which is characterized only by the white dwarf mass, was an oversimplification. Nova physics appears to be characterized by a relatively rich four-dimensional parameter space in white dwarf mass, temperature, composition, and accretion rate.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Kasliwal, M. M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Cenko, S. B.0000-0003-1673-970X
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Ofek, E. O.0000-0002-6786-8774
Quimby, R.0000-0001-9171-5236
Rau, A.0000-0001-5990-6243
Additional Information:© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 March 1; accepted 2011 April 22; published 2011 June 21. We thank Peter Jonker for timely Chandra/DDT observations for the fast evolving nova, P60-M81OT-071213. We thank Marina Orio for discussion, in particular, the suggestion that some of the faint novae may be recurrent novae. We thank A. Shafter, M. Shara, L. Bildsten, and O. Yaron for valuable feedback. We are grateful to A. Becker for making his software hotpants and wcsremap available for public use. M.M.K. thanks the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for the Hale Fellowship in support of graduate study. S.B.C. is grateful for generous support from Gary and Cynthia Bengier, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, and National Science Foundation (NSF) grant AST0908886. M.M.K. thanks the Palomar Observatory staff for their help in maximizing the efficiency and image quality of the Palomar 60 inch. 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 recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain.
Group:Palomar Transient Factory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Richard and Rhoda Goldman FundUNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: individual (M81, M82, M31, NGC 2403, NGC 891); galaxies: starburst; novae, cataclysmic variables; surveys; techniques: photometric; techniques: spectroscopic
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:PACS: 97.30.Qt; 98.54.Ep; 97.20.Rp; 95.85.Kr
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110712-154210482
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Discovery of a New Photometric Sub-class of Faint and Fast Classical Novae M. M. Kasliwal, S. B. Cenko, S. R. Kulkarni, E. O. Ofek, R. Quimby and A. Rau doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/94
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:24393
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:12 Jul 2011 22:58
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 00:49

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