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    We present Hubble Space Telescope optical images, Keck-OSIRIS near-infrared (NIR) integral field spectroscopy data cubes and Keck-Near InfraRed Camera-2 (NIRC2) NIR images of nova V5668 Sgr from 2016 to 2019. The observations indicate enhanced emission at the polar caps and equatorial torus for low-ionization lines, and enhanced high-ionization emission lines only at the polar caps. The radial velocities are compatible with a homogeneous expansion velocity of v = 590 km s−1 and a system inclination angle of 24°. These values were used to estimate an expansion parallax distance of 1200 ± 400 pc. The NIRC2 data indicate the presence of dust in 2016 and 2017, but no dust emission could be detected in 2019. The observational data were used for assembling 3D photoionization models of the ejecta. The model results indicate that the central source has a temperature of 1.88 × 105 K and a luminosity of 1.6 × 1035 erg s−1 in August of 2017 (2.4 yr post eruption), and that the shell has a mass of 6.3 × 10−5 M⊙. The models also suggest anisotropy of the ionizing flux, possibly by the contribution from a luminous accretion disc.


    We analyse high-resolution spectra of two classical novae that exploded in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). 7Be ii resonance transitions are detected in both ASASSN-19qv and ASASSN-20ni novae. This is the first detection outside the Galaxy and confirms that thermo-nuclear runaway reactions, leading to the 7Be formation, are effective also in the low-metallicity regime, characteristic of the SMC. Derived yields are of N(7Be = 7Li)/N(H)  = (5.3 ± 0.2) × 10−6 which are a factor 4 lower than the typical values of the Galaxy. Inspection of two historical novae in the Large Magellanic Cloud observed with IUE in 1991 and 1992 showed also the possible presence of 7Be and similar yields. For an ejecta of MH, ej = 10−5 M⊙, the amount of 7Li produced is of $M_{^7 Li} = (3.7 \pm 0.6) \times 10^{-10}$ M⊙ per nova event. Detailed chemical evolutionary model for the SMC shows that novae could have made an amount of lithium in the SMC corresponding to a fractional abundance of A(Li) ≈ 2.6. Therefore, it is argued that a comparison with the abundance of Li in the SMC, as measured by its interstellar medium, could effectively constrain the amount of the initial abundance of primordial Li, which is currently controversial.

  3. Abstract We explore the observational appearance of the merger of a low-mass star with a white dwarf (WD) binary companion. We are motivated by recent work finding that multiple tensions between the observed properties of cataclysmic variables (CVs) and standard evolution models are resolved if a large fraction of CV binaries merge as a result of unstable mass transfer. Tidal disruption of the secondary forms a geometrically thick disk around the WD, which subsequently accretes at highly super-Eddington rates. Analytic estimates and numerical hydrodynamical simulations reveal that outflows from the accretion flow unbind a large fraction ≳90% of the secondary at velocities ∼500–1000 km s −1 within days of the merger. Hydrogen recombination in the expanding ejecta powers optical transient emission lasting about a month with a luminosity ≳10 38 erg s −1 , similar to slow classical novae and luminous red novae from ordinary stellar mergers. Over longer timescales the mass accreted by the WD undergoes hydrogen shell burning, inflating the remnant into a giant of luminosity ∼300–5000 L ⊙ , effective temperature T eff ≈ 3000 K, and lifetime ∼10 4 –10 5 yr. We predict that ∼10 3 –10 4 Milky Way giants are CV merger products,more »potentially distinguishable by atypical surface abundances. We explore whether any Galactic historical slow classical novae are masquerading CV mergers by identifying four such post-nova systems with potential giant counterparts for which a CV merger origin cannot be ruled out. We address whether the historical transient CK Vul and its gaseous/dusty nebula resulted from a CV merger.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  4. Abstract We present radio observations (1–40 GHz) for 36 classical novae, representing data from over five decades compiled from the literature, telescope archives, and our own programs. Our targets display a striking diversity in their optical parameters (e.g., spanning optical fading timescales, t 2 = 1–263 days), and we find a similar diversity in the radio light curves. Using a brightness temperature analysis, we find that radio emission from novae is a mixture of thermal and synchrotron emission, with nonthermal emission observed at earlier times. We identify high brightness temperature emission ( T B > 5 × 10 4 K) as an indication of synchrotron emission in at least nine (25%) of the novae. We find a class of synchrotron-dominated novae with mildly evolved companions, exemplified by V5589 Sgr and V392 Per, that appear to be a bridge between classical novae with dwarf companions and symbiotic binaries with giant companions. Four of the novae in our sample have two distinct radio maxima (the first dominated by synchrotron and the later by thermal emission), and in four cases the early synchrotron peak is temporally coincident with a dramatic dip in the optical light curve, hinting at a common site for particlemore »acceleration and dust formation. We publish the light curves in a machine-readable table and encourage the use of these data by the broader community in multiwavelength studies and modeling efforts.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  5. Abstract There is a long-standing discrepancy between the observed Galactic classical nova rate of ∼10 yr −1 and the predicted rate from Galactic models of ∼30–50 yr −1 . One explanation for this discrepancy is that many novae are hidden by interstellar extinction, but the degree to which dust can obscure novae is poorly constrained. We use newly available all-sky three-dimensional dust maps to compare the brightness and spatial distribution of known novae to that predicted from relatively simple models in which novae trace Galactic stellar mass. We find that only half (53%) of the novae are expected to be easily detectable ( g ≲ 15) with current all-sky optical surveys such as the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). This fraction is much lower than previously estimated, showing that dust does substantially affect nova detection in the optical. By comparing complementary survey results from the ASAS-SN, OGLE-IV, and Palomar Gattini IR surveys using our modeling, we find a tentative Galactic nova rate of ∼30 yr −1 , though this could be as high as ∼40 yr −1 , depending on the assumed distribution of novae within the Galaxy. These preliminary estimates will be improved in future work through moremore »sophisticated modeling of nova detection in ASAS-SN and other surveys.« less
  6. We survey our understanding of classical novae—nonterminal, thermonuclear eruptions on the surfaces of white dwarfs in binary systems. The recent and unexpected discovery of GeV gamma rays from Galactic novae has highlighted the complexity of novae and their value as laboratories for studying shocks and particle acceleration. We review half a century of nova literature through this new lens, and conclude the following: ▪  The basics of the thermonuclear runaway theory of novae are confirmed by observations. The white dwarf sustains surface nuclear burning for some time after runaway, and until recently, it was commonly believed that radiation from this nuclear burning solely determines the nova's bolometric luminosity. ▪  The processes by which novae eject material from the binary system remain poorly understood. Mass loss from novae is complex (sometimes fluctuating in rate, velocity, and morphology) and often prolonged in time over weeks, months, or years. ▪  The complexity of the mass ejection leads to gamma-ray-producing shocks internal to the nova ejecta. When gamma rays are detected (around optical maximum), the shocks are deeply embedded and the surrounding gas is very dense. ▪  Observations of correlated optical and gamma-ray light curves confirm that the shocks are radiative and contribute significantlymore »to the bolometric luminosity of novae. Novae are therefore the closest and most common interaction-powered transients.« less
  7. ABSTRACT V445 Puppis is the only helium nova observed to date; its eruption in late 2000 showed high velocities up to 8500 km s−1, and a remarkable bipolar morphology cinched by an equatorial dust disc. Here we present multifrequency radio observations of V445 Pup obtained with the Very Large Array (VLA) spanning 1.5–43.3 GHz, and between 2001 January and 2008 March (days ∼89–2700 after eruption). The radio light curve is dominated by synchrotron emission over these 7 yr, and shows four distinct radio flares. Resolved radio images obtained in the VLA’s A configuration show that the synchrotron emission hugs the equatorial disc, and comparisons to near-IR images of the nova clearly demonstrate that it is the densest ejecta – not the fastest ejecta – that are the sites of the synchrotron emission in V445 Pup. The data are consistent with a model where the synchrotron emission is produced by a wind from the white dwarf impacting the dense equatorial disc, resulting in shocks and particle acceleration. The individual synchrotron flares may be associated with density enhancements in the equatorial disc and/or velocity variations in the wind from the white dwarf. This overall scenario is similar to a common picture of shock production in hydrogen-rich classical novae,more »but V445 Pup is remarkable in that these shocks persist for almost a decade, much longer than the weeks or months for which shocks are typically observed in classical novae.« less