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Exploring the Role of Globular Cluster Specific Frequency on the Nova Rates in Three Virgo Elliptical Galaxies

Curtin, C. and Shafter, A. W. and Pritchet, C. J. and Neill, J. D. and Kundu, A. and Maccarone, T. J. (2015) Exploring the Role of Globular Cluster Specific Frequency on the Nova Rates in Three Virgo Elliptical Galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 811 (1). Art. No. 34. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/811/1/34.

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It has been proposed that a galaxy's nova rate might be enhanced by the production of nova progenitor binaries in the dense cores of its globular clusters (GCs). To explore this idea, relative nova rates in three Virgo elliptical galaxies, M87, M49, and M84, which have significantly different GC specific frequencies (SN) of 14, 3.6, and 1.6, respectively, were measured over the course of 4 epochs spanning a period of 14 months. To simplify the analysis, observations of the nearly equidistant galaxies were made on the same nights, with the same integration times, and through the same filter (Hα), so that the relative numbers of novae discovered would reflect the relative nova rates. At the conclusion of our survey we found a total of 27 novae associated with M87, 37 with M49, and 19 with M84. After correcting for survey completeness, we found annual nova rates of 154_(-19)^(+23), 189_(-22)^(+26), and 95_(-14)^(+15), for M87, M49, and M84, respectively, corresponding to K-band luminosity-specific nova rates of 3.8 ± 1.0, 3.4 ± 0.6, and 3.0 ± 0.6 novae per year per 10^(10) L_K_⊙. The overall results of our study suggest that a galaxy's nova rate simply scales with its luminosity, and is insensitive to its GC specific frequency. Two novae, one in M87 and one in M84, were found to be spatially coincident with known GCs. After correcting for the mass fraction in GCs, we estimate that novae are likely enhanced relative to the field by at least an order of magnitude in the GC systems of luminous Virgo ellipticals.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Neill, J. D.0000-0002-0466-1119
Maccarone, T. J.0000-0003-0976-4755
Additional Information:© 2015 American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 May 15; accepted 2015 August 13; published 2015 September 17. We thank an anonymous referee for constructive comments on our original manuscript. This work is based on observations obtained with MegaPrime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Science de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, and the University of Hawaii. A.W.S. and C.C. acknowledge financial support through NSF grant AST1009566. C.J.P. acknowledges financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory, Space Astrophysics Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: individual (M49, M84, M87); galaxies: star clusters: general; novae, cataclysmic variables
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151202-144445643
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Official Citation:C. Curtin et al 2015 ApJ 811 34
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62556
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:02 Dec 2015 23:49
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:03

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