Extraordinary luminous soft x-ray transient MAXI J0158-744 as an ignition of a nova on a very massive o-Ne white dwarf

M. Morii, H. Tomida, M. Kimura, F. Suwa, H. Negoro, M. Serino, J. A. Kennea, K. L. Page, P. A. Curran, F. M. Walter, N. P.M. Kuin, T. Pritchard, S. Nakahira, K. Hiroi, R. Usui, N. Kawai, J. P. Osborne, T. Mihara, M. Sugizaki, N. GehrelsM. Kohama, T. Kotani, M. Matsuoka, M. Nakajima, P. W.A. Roming, T. Sakamoto, K. Sugimori, Y. Tsuboi, H. Tsunemi, Y. Ueda, S. Ueno, A. Yoshida

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We present the observation of an extraordinary luminous soft X-ray transient, MAXI J0158-744, by the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) on 2011 November 11. This transient is characterized by a soft X-ray spectrum, a short duration (1.3 × 103 s < ΔTd < 1.10 × 10 4 s), a rapid rise (<5.5 × 103 s), and a huge peak luminosity of 2 × 1040 erg s-1 in 0.7-7.0 keV band. With Swift observations and optical spectroscopy from the Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System, we confirmed that the transient is a nova explosion, on a white dwarf in a binary with a Be star, located near the Small Magellanic Cloud. An early turn-on of the super-soft X-ray source (SSS) phase (<0.44 days), the short SSS phase duration of about one month, and a 0.92 keV neon emission line found in the third MAXI scan, 1296 s after the first detection, suggest that the explosion involves a small amount of ejecta and is produced on an unusually massive O-Ne white dwarf close to, or possibly over, the Chandrasekhar limit. We propose that the huge luminosity detected with MAXI was due to the fireball phase, a direct manifestation of the ignition of the thermonuclear runaway process in a nova explosion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 20 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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