We present initial results from a snapshot survey, taken with Hubble Space Telescope's Wide-Field/Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), of the gaseous shells of classical novae that erupted since 1980. The images were taken through narrow-band filters, in the light of Hα, [N II] 6583, and [O III] 5007. Nova shells evolve over years to decades, in contrast to 10(4) years for planetary nebulae. We therefore intend for this survey to be first-epoch observations of a long-term survey, to observe the hydrodynamics of nova shells unfolding before our very eyes. We discover three new shells, around CP Cru (Nova Cru 1996), V1425 Aql (Nova Aql 1995), and V351 Pup (Nova Pup 1991), and clearly resolve another, around QU Vul (Nova Vul 1984 #2). The V351 Pup and QU Vul shells appear as rings, although the hollow insides may be due to the filter response. Still, QU Vul shows definite structure in its 1.5-arcsecond diameter ring. The [O III] image of V1425 Aql may show bipolar structure: if so, the lobes are only 0.2 arcseconds apart. This work was supported by STScI grant GO-07386.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #192
- Pub Date:
- May 1998