Ref: ASTROimport-161

The enigma of the oldest `nova': the central star and nebula of CK Vul

Hajduk, M. ; Zijlstra, A. A. ; van Hoof, P. A. M. ; Lopez, J. A. ; Drew, J. E. ; Evans, A. ; Eyres, S. P. S. ; Gesicki, K. ; Greimel, R. ; Kerber, F. ; Kimeswenger, S. ; Richer, M. G.

published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 378, pp. 1298-1308 (2007)

Abstract: CK Vul is classified as, amongst others, the slowest known nova, a hibernating nova or a very late thermal pulse object. Following its eruption in AD 1670, the star remained visible for 2 yr. A 15-arcsec nebula was discovered in the 1980s, but the star itself has not been detected since the eruption. We here present radio images which reveal a 0.1-arcsec radio source with a flux of 1.5mJy at 5GHz. Deep Ha images show a bipolar nebula with a longest extension of 70 arcsec, with the previously known compact nebula at its waist. The emission-line ratios show that the gas is shock-ionized, at velocities >100kms-1. Dust emission yields an envelope mass of ~5 × 10-2Msolar. Echelle spectra indicate outflow velocities up to 360kms-1. From a comparison of images obtained in 1991 and 2004 we find evidence for expansion of the nebula, consistent with an origin in the 1670 explosion; the measured expansion is centred on the radio source. No optical or infrared counterpart is found at the position of the radio source. The radio emission is interpreted as thermal free-free emission from gas with Te ~ 104K. The radio source may be due to a remnant circumbinary disc, similar to those seen in some binary post-AGB stars. We discuss possible classifications of this unique outburst, including that of a sub-Chandrasekhar mass supernova, a nova eruption on a cool, low-mass white dwarf or a thermal pulse induced by accretion from a circumbinary disc.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.11825.x
Links: link

The record appears in these collections:
Royal Observatory of Belgium > Astronomy & Astrophysics
Science Articles > Peer Reviewed Articles

 Record created 2016-07-01, last modified 2016-07-01