The nova rate in the elliptical component of NGC 5128

Robin Ciardullo, Holland C. Ford, R. E. Williams, Peter Tamblyn, George H. Jacoby

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We present the results of a five year nova survey of NGC 5128 performed with an Hα filter at the prime focus of the CTIO 4 m telescope. In all, 16 novae were detected, of which 12 are members of a statistically complete and homogeneous sample unaffected by the absorption lane of the galaxy. When normalized to B luminosity, the nova rate in the elliptical component of NGC 5128 is 2.7 ± 1.0 times less than that observed in the bulge of M31. However, when normalized in the infrared K bandpass, the two nova rates are identical, and comparable to that measured in the Large Magellanic Cloud. These data suggest that (1) the percentage of binary stars is approximately constant over a large range of star-forming environments, (2) the nova rate in our own galaxy is between 11 and 46 yr-1, and (3) nova rates are not strongly affected by tidal captures in bright globular clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1087
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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