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An Accreting White Dwarf near the Chandrasekhar Limit in the Andromeda GalaxyThe iPTF (Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory) detection of the most recent outburst of the recurrent nova system RX J0045.4+4154 in the Andromeda Galaxy has enabled the unprecedented study of a massive (mass is greater than 1.3 solar masses) accreting white dwarf (WD). We detected this nova as part of the near daily iPTF monitoring of M31 to a depth of R (red band-pass filter) approximately equal to magnitude 21 and triggered optical photometry, spectroscopy and soft X-ray monitoring of the outburst. Peaking at an absolute magnitude of MR (red, mid-infrared band-pass filter) equals magnitude −6.6, and with a decay time of 1 magnitude per day, it is a faint and very fast nova. It shows optical emission lines of He/N and expansion velocities of 1900 to 2600 kilometers per second 1-4 days after the optical peak. The Swift monitoring of the X-ray evolution revealed a supersoft source (SSS) with kT (energy: Boltzmann constant times temperature) (sub eff (effective)) approximately equal to 90-110 electronvolts that appeared within 5 days after the optical peak, and lasted only 12 days. Most remarkably, this is not the first event from this system, rather it is a recurrent nova with a time between outbursts of approximately 1 year, the shortest known. Recurrent X-ray emission from this binary was detected by ROSAT in 1992 and 1993, and the source was well characterized as a mass greater than 1.3 solar masses WD SSS. Based on the observed recurrence time between different outbursts, the duration and effective temperature of the SS phase, MESA models of accreting WDs allow us to constrain the accretion rate to mass greater than 1.7x10 (sup −7) solar masses per year and WD mass greater than 1.30 solar masses. If the WD keeps 30 percent of the accreted material, it will take less than a million years to reach core densities high enough for carbon ignition (if made of C/O) or electron capture (if made of O/Ne) to end the binary evolution.
Document ID
20150008360
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Authors
Tang, Sumin (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Bildsten, Lars (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Wolf, William M. (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Li, K. L. (National Tsing Hua Univ. Hsinchu, Taiwan, Province of China)
Kong, Albert K. H. (National Tsing Hua Univ. Hsinchu, Taiwan, Province of China)
Cao, Yi (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Cenko, S. Bradley (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
De Cia, Annalisa (Weizmann Inst. of Science Rehovot, Israel)
Kasliwal, Mansi M. (Carnegie Institution for Science Pasadena, CA, United States)
Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Laher, Russ R. (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Masci, Frank (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Nugent, Peter E. (California Univ., Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Berkeley, CA, United States)
Perley, Daniel A. (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Prince, Thomas A. (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Surace, Jason (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 19, 2015
Publication Date
January 1, 2014
Subject Category
Astrophysics
Astronomy
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN21603
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSF-AST-12-0557
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSC101-2119-M-008-007-MY3
CONTRACT_GRANT: DE-AC02-05CH11231
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSF-PHY-11-25915
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSF-AST-11-09174
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
Keywords
dwarf
limit
galaxy

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