A Planetary Nebula around Nova V458 Vulpeculae Undergoing Flash Ionization
Nova V458 Vul erupted on 2007 August 8 and reached a visual magnitude of 8.1 a few days later. Hα images obtained 6 weeks before the outburst as part of the IPHAS Galactic plane survey reveal an 18th magnitude progenitor surrounded by an extended nebula. Subsequent images and spectroscopy of the nebula reveal an inner nebular knot increasing rapidly in brightness due to flash ionization by the nova event. We derive a distance of 13 kpc based on light travel time considerations, which is supported by two other distance estimation methods. The nebula has an ionized mass of 0.2 M⊙ and a low expansion velocity: this rules it out as ejecta from a previous nova eruption, and is consistent with it being a ~14,000 year old planetary nebula, probably the product of a prior common envelope (CE) phase of evolution of the binary system. The large derived distance means that the mass of the erupting WD component of the binary is high. We identify two possible evolutionary scenarios, in at least one of which the system is massive enough to produce a Type Ia supernova upon merging.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- November 2008
- ISM: abundances;
- cataclysmic variables;
- 5 pages, 2 figures. Accepted for publication in ApJL