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Published May 1, 1985 | Published
Journal Article Open

Nova shells. II - Calibration of the distance scale using novae


Eight new spatially resolved nova shells have been found by imaging with a digital detector through a narrow Hα filter, and two old novae have been recovered. The 11 novae with the best determined maximum luminosities at outburst of the sample of 21 novae with reliable distances are used to derive a M_v(max)-rate of decline relationship. These 11 objects have a mean M_v 15 days past maximum of —5.60 ± 0.45 mag. If I assume that M_v(15) is in fact constant, as is suggested by the theory, then for the full sample of 21 objects I find M_v(max, corr) = —10.70( ±0.30) + 2.41( ±0.23) log (t_2), where t_2 is the time in days to decline 2 mag below maximum light. Having removed all obvious sources of observational error, I deduce that the dispersion in nova outburst luminosity for a fixed rate of decline is 0.45 mag. Previously published surveys of novae in 31 are used to redetermine the distance to that galaxy.

Additional Information

© American Astronomical Society • Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Received 1984 September 20; accepted 1984 November 15. I am very grateful to Keith Shortridge, who wrote the software for the Caltech image-processing programs. Diana Foss and Gaston Araya helped with the observations, and Jeremy Mould contributed one spectrum. This research was supported by NSF grant AST 82-12270. Lam grateful to the Aspen Institute for Physics for hospitality in 1984 June.

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Published - 1985ApJ___292___90C.pdf


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