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A Hubble Space Telescope Survey for Novae in M87. I. Light and Color Curves, Spatial Distributions, and the Nova Rate

Shara, Michael M. and Doyle, Trisha F. and Lauer, Tod R. and Zurek, David and Neill, J. D. and Madrid, Juan P. and Mikołajewska, Joanna and Welch, D. L. and Baltz, Edward A. (2016) A Hubble Space Telescope Survey for Novae in M87. I. Light and Color Curves, Spatial Distributions, and the Nova Rate. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 227 (1). Art. No. 1. ISSN 0067-0049.

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The Hubble Space Telescope has imaged the central part of M87 over a 10 week span, leading to the discovery of 32 classical novae (CNe) and nine fainter, likely very slow, and/or symbiotic novae. In this first paper of a series, we present the M87 nova finder charts, and the light and color curves of the novae. We demonstrate that the rise and decline times, and the colors of M87 novae are uncorrelated with each other and with position in the galaxy. The spatial distribution of the M87 novae follows the light of the galaxy, suggesting that novae accreted by M87 during cannibalistic episodes are well-mixed. Conservatively using only the 32 brightest CNe we derive a nova rate for M87: 363^(+33)_(-45)novae yr^(−1). We also derive the luminosity-specific classical nova rate for this galaxy, which is 7.88^(+2.3)_(-2.6) yr^(-1)/10^(10) L⊙K. Both rates are 3–4 times higher than those reported for M87 in the past, and similarly higher than those reported for all other galaxies. We suggest that most previous ground-based surveys for novae in external galaxies, including M87, miss most faint, fast novae, and almost all slow novae near the centers of galaxies.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Doyle, Trisha F.0000-0001-7182-5307
Neill, J. D.0000-0002-0466-1119
Additional Information:© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 February 1; revised 2016 September 1; accepted 2016 September 10; published 2016 November 8. Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the STScI team responsible for ensuring timely and accurate implementation of our M87 program. Support for program #10543 was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. This research has been partly supported by the Polish NCN grant DEC-2013/10/M/ST9/00086. M.M.S. gratefully acknowledges the support of Hilary and Ethel Lipsitz, longtime friends of the AMNH Astrophysics department. We thank a referee for a careful reading and useful suggestions that improved earlier versions of the paper.
Group:Space Astrophysics Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANAS 5-26555
National Science Center (Poland)DEC-2013/10/M/ST9/00086
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161108-110328433
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Michael M. Shara et al 2016 ApJS 227 1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:71808
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Nov 2016 19:14
Last Modified:09 Apr 2021 19:36

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