The recurrent nova M31N 2008-12a in M31 has the shortest interoutburst time of any known recurrent nova. Since its discovery in December 2008 by two Japanese amateur astronomers, Koichi Nishiyama and Fujio Kabashima, a total of 8 subsequent outbursts have been observed. The mean time between observed eruptions (all observed between late August and December) is 364+/-52 days. M31 is close to the sun in March through May, so it is likely that any eruptions that may have occurred during this period have been missed and the recurrence period could be as short as 6 months. Models of thermonuclear runaways on white dwarfs show that only near Chandrasekhar mass white dwarfs accreting at a few times 10-7 solar masses per year can produce nova outbursts with a recurrence time of a year, or less. Furthermore, the models show that during the interval between each nova event the accreted mass is expected to be greater than the expelled mass. The white dwarf mass must therefore be growing, and is predicted to reach the Chandrasekhar mass in of order 500,000 years. Thus, M31N 2008-12a is destined either to become a Type Ia supernova (if the white dwarf has a CO composition) or to form a neutron star in an accretion-induced collapse (if the white dwarf has an ONe composition). In this poster, I will describe the latest observations of this fascinating nova.
AAS/High Energy Astrophysics Division #16
- Pub Date:
- August 2017