A Hubble Space Telescope Survey for Novae in M87. II. Snuffing out the Maximum Magnitude-Rate of Decline Relation for Novae as a Non-standard Candle, and a Prediction of the Existence of Ultrafast Novae

Michael M. Shara, Trisha Doyle, Tod R. Lauer, David Zurek, Edward A. Baltz, Attay Kovetz, Juan P. Madrid, Joanna Mikołajewska, J. D. Neill, Dina Prialnik, D. L. Welch, Ofer Yaron

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35 Scopus citations

Abstract

The extensive grid of numerical simulations of nova eruptions from the work of Yaron et al. first predicted that some classical novae might significantly deviate from the Maximum Magnitude-Rate of Decline (MMRD) relation, which purports to characterize novae as standard candles. Kasliwal et al. have announced the observational detection of a new class of faint, fast classical novae in the Andromeda galaxy. These objects deviate strongly from the MMRD relationship, as predicted by Yaron et al. Recently, Shara et al. reported the first detections of faint, fast novae in M87. These previously overlooked objects are as common in the giant elliptical galaxy M87 as they are in the giant spiral M31; they comprise about 40% of all classical nova eruptions and greatly increase the observational scatter in the MMRD relation. We use the extensive grid of the nova simulations of Yaron et al. to identify the underlying causes of the existence of faint, fast novae. These are systems that have accreted, and can thus eject, only very low-mass envelopes, of the order of 10-7-10-8 M o, on massive white dwarfs. Such binaries include, but are not limited to, the recurrent novae. These same models predict the existence of ultrafast novae that display decline times, t 2, to be as short as five hours. We outline a strategy for their future detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume839
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • binaries: close
  • novae, cataclysmic variables

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