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An Accreting White Dwarf near the Chandrasekhar Limit in the Andromeda Galaxy

Tang, Sumin and Bildsten, Lars and Wolf, William M. and Li, K. L. and Kong, Albert K. H. and Cao, Yi and Cenko, S. Bradley and De Cia, Annalisa and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. and Laher, Russ R. and Masci, Frank and Nugent, Peter E. and Perley, Daniel A. and Prince, Thomas A. and Surace, Jason (2014) An Accreting White Dwarf near the Chandrasekhar Limit in the Andromeda Galaxy. Astrophysical Journal, 786 (1). Art. No. 61. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/786/1/61.

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The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) detection of the most recent outburst of the recurrent nova (RN) system RX J0045.4+4154 in the Andromeda galaxy has enabled the unprecedented study of a massive (M > 1.3 M☉) accreting white dwarf (WD). We detected this nova as part of the near-daily iPTF monitoring of M31 to a depth of R ≈21 mag and triggered optical photometry, spectroscopy and soft X-ray monitoring of the outburst. Peaking at an absolute magnitude of M_R = –6.6 mag, and with a decay time of 1 mag per day, it is a faint and very fast nova. It shows optical emission lines of He/N and expansion velocities of 1900-2600 km s^(–1) 1-4 days after the optical peak. The Swift monitoring of the X-ray evolution revealed a supersoft source (SSS) with kT_(eff) ≈ 90-110 eV that appeared within 5 days after the optical peak, and lasted only 12 days. Most remarkably, this is not the first event from this system, rather it is an RN with a time between outbursts of approximately 1 yr, the shortest known. Recurrent X-ray emission from this binary was detected by ROSAT in 1992 and 1993, and the source was well characterized as a M > 1.3 M☉ WD SSS. Based on the observed recurrence time between different outbursts, the duration and effective temperature of the SS phase, MESA models of accreting WDs allow us to constrain the accretion rate to M > 1.7 x 10^(-7) M☉ yr^(-1) and WD mass >1.30 M☉. If the WD keeps 30% of the accreted material, it will take less than a Myr to reach core densities high enough for carbon ignition (if made of C/O) or electron capture (if made of O/Ne) to end the binary evolution.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle Paper
Tang, Sumin0000-0002-6225-8918
Wolf, William M.0000-0002-6828-0630
Kong, Albert K. H.0000-0002-5105-344X
Cao, Yi0000-0002-8036-8491
Cenko, S. Bradley0000-0003-1673-970X
De Cia, Annalisa0000-0003-2082-1626
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Laher, Russ R.0000-0003-2451-5482
Masci, Frank0000-0002-8532-9395
Nugent, Peter E.0000-0002-3389-0586
Perley, Daniel A.0000-0001-8472-1996
Prince, Thomas A.0000-0002-8850-3627
Surace, Jason0000-0001-7291-0087
Additional Information:© 2014 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 January 10; accepted 2014 March 11; published 2014 April 16. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grants PHY 11-25915, AST 11-09174, and AST 12-05574. Most of the MESA simulations for this work were made possible by the Triton Resource. The Triton Resource is a high-performance research computing system operated by the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. This research used resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. A.K.H.K. is supported by the National Science Council of the Republic of China (Taiwan) through grant NSC101-2119-M-008-007-MY3. M.M.K. acknowledges generous support from the Hubble Fellowship and Carnegie- Princeton Fellowship. We are grateful to the Swift Team for the superb timely scheduling of the observations and providing data and analysis tools, and to Bill Paxton for his development of MESA. Facilities: PO:1.2m (PTF), PO:1.5m, Keck:I (DEIMOS, LRIS), Swift (XRT, UVOT)
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Palomar Transient Factory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFPHY 11-25915
NSFAST 11-09174
NSFAST 12-05574
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
National Science Council (TaIpei)NSC101-2119-M-008-007-MY3
Carnegie-Princeton FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies : individual (M31); novae, cataclysmic variables; supernovae : general; white dwarfs; X-rays : binaries
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140618-073932304
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Official Citation:An Accreting White Dwarf near the Chandrasekhar Limit in the Andromeda Galaxy Sumin Tang et al. 2014 ApJ 786 61
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46319
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Jun 2014 16:29
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:23

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