A spectroscopic and photometric survey of novae in M31

A. W. Shafter, M. J. Darnley, K. Hornoch, A. V. Filippenko, M. F. Bode, R. Ciardullo, K. A. Misselt, R. A. Hounsell, R. Chornock, T. Matheson

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We report the results of a multi-year spectroscopic and photometric survey of novae in M31 that resulted in a total of 53 spectra of 48 individual nova candidates. Two of these, M31N 1995-11e and M31N 2007-11g, were revealed to be long-period Mira variables, not novae. These data double the number of spectra extant for novae in M31 through the end of 2009 and bring to 91 the number of M31 novae with known spectroscopic classifications. We find that 75 novae (82%) are confirmed or likely members of the Fe II spectroscopic class, with the remaining 16 novae (18%) belonging to the He/N (and related) classes. These numbers are consistent with those found for Galactic novae. We find no compelling evidence that spectroscopic class depends sensitively on spatial position or population within M31 (i.e., bulge versus disk), although the distribution for He/N systems appears slightly more extended than that for the Fe II class. We confirm the existence of a correlation between speed class and ejection velocity (based on line width), as in the case of Galactic novae. Follow-up photometry allowed us to determine light-curve parameters for a total of 47 of the 91 novae with known spectroscopic class. We confirm that more luminous novae generally fade the fastest and that He/N novae are typically faster and brighter than their Fe II counterparts. In addition, we find a weak dependence of nova speed class on position in M31, with the spatial distribution of the fastest novae being slightly more extended than that of slower novae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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