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Title: The Galactic Nova Rate: Estimates from the ASAS-SN and Gaia Surveys

We present the first estimate of the Galactic nova rate based on optical transient surveys covering the entire sky. Using data from the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) and Gaia—the only two all-sky surveys to report classical nova candidates—we find 39 confirmed Galactic novae and 7 additional unconfirmed candidates discovered from 2019 to 2021, yielding a nova discovery rate of ≈14 yr−1. Using accurate Galactic stellar mass models and three-dimensional dust maps and incorporating realistic nova light curves, we have built a sophisticated Galactic nova model to estimate the fraction of Galactic novae discovered by these surveys over this time period. The observing capabilities of each survey are distinct: the high cadence of ASAS-SN makes it sensitive to fast novae, while the broad observing filter and high spatial resolution of Gaia make it more sensitive to highly reddened novae across the entire Galactic plane and bulge. Despite these differences, we find that ASAS-SN and Gaia give consistent Galactic nova rates, with a final joint nova rate of 26 ± 5 yr−1. This inferred nova rate is substantially lower than found by many other recent studies. Critically assessing the systematic uncertainties in the Galactic nova rate, we argue that the role of faint, fast-fading novae has likely been overestimated, but that subtle details in the operation of transient alert pipelines can have large, sometimes unappreciated effects on transient recovery efficiency. Our predicted nova rate can be directly tested with forthcoming red/near-infrared transient surveys in the southern hemisphere.

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Award ID(s):
1908952 1751874
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 64
["Article No. 64"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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