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A remarkable recurrent nova in M 31: the optical observations

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  • M. J. Darnley
  • S. C. Williams
  • M. F. Bode
  • M. Henze
  • J.-u. Ness
  • A. W. Shafter
  • K. Hornoch
  • V. Votruba
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Article numberL9
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume563
Number of pages4
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Context. In late Nov. 2013 the fifth eruption in five years of the M 31 recurrent nova M 31N 2008-12a was announced.
Aims: In this Letter we address the optical lightcurve and progenitor system of M 31N 2008-12a.
Methods: Optical imaging data of the 2013 eruption from the Liverpool Telescope, La Palma; Danish 1.54 m Telescope, La Silla; and archival Hubble Space Telescope near-IR, optical, and near-UV data are astrometrically and photometrically analysed.
Results: Photometry of the 2013 eruption, combined with three previous eruptions, enabled construction of a template lightcurve of a very fast nova (t2(V)≃4 days). The archival data allowed recovery of the progenitor system in optical and near-UV data, indicating a red-giant secondary with bright accretion disk, or alternatively a system with a sub-giant secondary but dominated by a disk.
Conclusions: The eruptions of M 31N 2008-12a, and a number of historic X-ray detections, indicate a unique system with a recurrence timescale of ~1 yr. This implies the presence of a very high-mass white dwarf and a high accretion rate. The recovered progenitor system is consistent with such an elevated rate of accretion. We encourage additional observations, especially towards the end of 2014.