NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016B-0193

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Program Information for 2016B-0193


PI: Allen Shafter, San Diego State U., awshafter@gmail.com
Address: Department of Astronomy, San Diego, CA, 92182-1221 USA

CoI: Rebekah Hounsell, U. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
CoI: Steven Williams, Lancaster University
CoI: Matt Darnley, Liverpool John Moores University
CoI: Martin Henze, CSIC-IEEC
CoI: Valerio Ribeiro, Radboud University
CoI: Pablo Rodriguez-Gil, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias

Title: M31N 2008-12a - The Remarkable Recurrent Nova in M31: Gemini Spectra of the 2016 Eruption and surrounding 'Super-remnant'

Abstract: M31N 2008-12a is the single most important nova system in M31, perhaps the most important discovered to date. With its once unprecedented one-year recurrence period, white dwarf just a hair below the Chandrasekhar mass, high mass accretion rate, low peak optical luminosity, and low ejecta mass and velocity, this system is now the leading pre-explosion Supernova Type Ia progenitor candidate. The system is also surrounded by a vast nebula whose origin must be related to not just one nova eruption but many 1000s since the system first began accreting. This nova's rapid decline from optical peak and the distance of M31 necessitate the use of 8m-class facilities to study the late-time evolution of each eruption. Here we propose a series of Gemini North GMOS long-slit observations to study the late decline of the predicted 2016 eruption of M31N 2008-12a. These observations will be triggered to coincide with the rapid and variable super-soft X-ray phase of the eruption and will study the geometry and evolution of the ejecta as it is decelerated by circumbinary material. These observations and subsequent modelling will constrain parameters such as the ejected mass, system inclination, and the mass transfer mechanism. Importantly, these spectra will also enable us to address the link between the nova ejecta and the surrounding 'super-remnant' and explore the potential of such phenomena as a tell-tale signature of the recurrent nova pathway to SN Ia.

Program Type: Standard/Extragalactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2016B):  GEM-NQ/GMOSN -- 7.2hrs band 1 (GN-2016B-Q-22)


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