Hydrodynamic simulations of the KT Eridani nova super-remnant

Healy-Kalesh M. W., Darnley M. J., Shara M. M., Lanzetta K. M., Garland J. T. and Gromoll S., 2024, MNRAS, 529, 236

A nova super-remnant (NSR) is an immense structure associated with a nova that forms when frequent and recurrent nova eruptions sweep up surrounding interstellar material (ISM) into a high density and distant shell. The prototypical NSR, measuring over 100 pc across, was discovered in 2014 around the annually erupting nova M 31N 2008-12a. Hydrodynamical simulations demonstrated that the creation of a dynamic NSR by repeated eruptions transporting large quantities of ISM is not only feasible but that these structures should exist around all novae, whether the white dwarf (WD) is increasing or decreasing in mass. But it is only the recurrent nova (RNe) with the highest WD masses and accretion rates that should host observable NSRs. KT Eridani is, potentially, the eleventh RNe recorded in the Galaxy and is also surrounded by a recently unveiled Hα shell tens of parsecs across, consistent with a NSR. Through modelling the nova ejecta from KT Eri, we demonstrate that such an observable NSR could form in approximately 50,000 years, which fits with the proper motion history of the nova. We compute the expected Hα emission from the KT Eri NSR and predict that the structure might be accessible to wide-field X-ray facilities.

Healy-Kalesh et al. 2024c

Introducing the Condor Array Telescope: IV. A possible nova super-remnant surrounding the putative recurrent nova KT Eridani

Shara M. M., Lanzetta K. M., Garland J. T., Gromoll S., Valls-Gabaud D., Walter F. M., Webb J. K., Kniazev A., Townsend L., Darnley M. J., Healy-Kalesh M. W., Corral-Santana J. and Schmidtobreick L., 2024, MNRAS, 529, 224

Just 10 recurrent novae (RNe) - which erupt repeatedly on timescales shorter than one century - are known in our Galaxy. The most extreme RN known (located in the Andromeda galaxy), M31N 2008-12a, undergoes a nova eruption every year, and is surrounded by a vast nova "super-remnant", 134 pc in extent. Simulations predict that all RNe should be surrounded by similar vast shells, but previous searches have failed to detect them. KT Eri has recently been suggested to be a RN, and we have used the Condor Array Telescope to image its environs through multiple narrowband filters. We report the existence of a large (~50 pc diameter), Hα-bright shell centered on KT Eri, exactly as predicted. This strongly supports the claim that KT Eri is the 11th Galactic recurrent nova, and only the second nova known to be surrounded by a super-remnant. SALT spectra of the super-remnant demonstrate that its velocity width is consistent with that of M31-2008-12a.

Shara et al. 2024

Discovery of a nova super-remnant cavity surrounding RS Ophiuchi

Healy-Kalesh M. W., Darnley M. J., Harvey É. J. and Newsam A. M, 2024, MNRAS, 529, L175

The prototypical nova super-remnant (NSR) was uncovered around the most rapidly recurring nova (RN), M31N 2008-12a. Simulations of the growth of NSRs revealed that these large structures should exist around all novae, whether classical or recurrent. NSRs consist of large shell-like structures surrounding excavated cavities. Predictions, informed by these simulations, led to the discovery of an extended cavity coincident with the Galactic RN, RS Ophiuchi, in far-infrared archival IRAS images. We propose that this cavity is associated with RS Oph and is therefore evidence of another NSR to be uncovered.

Healy-Kalesh et al. 2024b

On an apparent dearth of recurrent nova super-remnants in the Local Group

Healy-Kalesh M. W., Darnley M. J., and Shara M. M., 2024, MNRAS, 528, 3531

The Andromeda Galaxy is home to the annually erupting recurrent nova (RN) M31N 2008-12a (12a); the first nova found to host a nova super-remnant (NSR). A NSR is an immense structure surrounding a RN, created from many millions of eruptions sweeping up material in the local environment to form a shell tens of parsecs across. Theory has demonstrated that NSRs should be found around all RNe, even those systems with long periods between eruptions. Befittingly, the second NSR was found around the Galactic classical (and long suspected recurrent) nova, KT Eridani. In this Paper, we aim to find more of these phenomena through conducting the first ever survey for NSRs in M31 and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We find that the surroundings of fourteen RNe in M31 as well as the surroundings of the four RNe in the LMC do not show any evidence of vast parsec-scale structures in narrowband (Hα and [S II]) images, unlike the one clearly seen around 12a, and therefore conclude that observable NSRs are either rare structures, or they are too faint (or small) to be detected in our existing datasets. Yet, the NSR surrounding 12a would also likely to have been overlooked in our study if it were approximately one magnitude fainter. Searches for NSRs around other RNe 'masquerading' as classical novae may prove to be fruitful as would whole surveys of other Local Group galaxies.

Healy-Kalesh et al. 2024a

AT 2023prq: A Classical Nova in the Halo of the Andromeda Galaxy

Healy-Kalesh M. W., and Perley D. A., 2023, RNAAS, 7, 240

The classical nova, AT 2023prq, was discovered on 2023 August 15 and is located at a distance of 46 kpc from the Andromeda galaxy (M31). Here we report photometry and spectroscopy of the nova. The "very fast" (t2,r'~ 3.4 days) and low luminosity (Mr'~ -7.6) nature of the transient along with the helium in its spectra would indicate that AT 2023prq is a "faint-and-fast" He/N nova. Additionally, at such a large distance from the center of M31, AT 2023prq is a member of the halo nova population.

Healy-Kalesh & Perley 2023

On the observability of recurrent nova super-remnants

Healy-Kalesh M. W., Darnley M. J., Harvey É. J., Copperwheat C. M., James P. A., Andersson T., Henze M. and O’Brien T. J., 2023, MNRAS, 521, 3004

The nova super-remnant (NSR) surrounding M31N 2008-12a (12a), the annually erupting recurrent nova (RN), is the only known example of this phenomenon. As this structure has grown as a result of frequent eruptions from 12a, we might expect to see NSRs around other RNe; this would confirm the RN-NSR association and strengthen the connection between novae and type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) as NSRs centred on SN Ia provide a lasting, unequivocal signpost to the single degenerate progenitor type of that explosion. The only previous NSR simulation used identical eruptions from a static white dwarf (WD). In this Paper, we simulate the growth of NSRs alongside the natural growth/erosion of the central WD, within a range of environments, accretion rates, WD temperatures, and initial WD masses. The subsequent evolving eruptions create dynamic NSRs tens of parsecs in radius comprising a low-density cavity, bordered by a hot ejecta pile-up region, and surrounded by a cool high-density, thin, shell. Higher density environments restrict NSR size, as do higher accretion rates, whereas the WD temperature and initial mass have less impact. NSRs form around growing or eroding WDs, indicating that NSRs also exist around old novae with low-mass WDs. Observables such as X-ray and Hα emission from the modelled NSRs are derived to aid searches for more examples; only NSRs around high accretion rate novae will currently be observable. The observed properties of the 12a NSR can be reproduced when considering both the dynamically grown NSR and photoionization by the nova system.

Healy-Kalesh et al. 2023

AT 2017fvz: a nova in the dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 6822

Healy M. W., Darnley M. J., Copperwheat C. M., Filippenko A. V., Henze M., Hestenes J. C., James P. A., Page K. L., Williams S. C. and Zheng W., 2019, MNRAS, 486, 4334

A transient in the Local Group dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 6822 (Barnard's Galaxy) was discovered on 2017 August 2 and is only the second classical nova discovered in that galaxy. We conducted optical, near-ultraviolet, and X-ray follow-up observations of the eruption, the results of which we present here. This 'very fast' nova had a peak V-band magnitude in the range -7.41 > MV > -8.33 mag, with decline times of t2,V = 8.1 ± 0.2 d and t3,V = 15.2 ± 0.3 d. The early- and late-time spectra are consistent with an Fe II spectral class. The H α emission line initially has a full width at half-maximum intensity of ~2400 km/s - a moderately fast ejecta velocity for the class. The Hα line then narrows monotonically to ~1800 km/s by 70 d post-eruption. The lack of a pre-eruption coincident source in archival Hubble Space Telescope imaging implies that the donor is a main-sequence, or possibly subgiant, star. The relatively low-peak luminosity and rapid decline hint that AT 2017fvz may be a 'faint and fast' nova.

Healy et al. 2019

A recurrent nova super-remnant in the Andromeda galaxy

Darnley M. J., Hounsell R., O’Brien T. J., Henze M., Rodríguez-Gil P., Shafter A. W., Shara M. M., Vaytet N. M. H., Bode M. F., Ciardullo R., Davis B. D., Galera-Rosillo R., Harman D. J., Harvey É. J., Healy M. W., Ness J.-U., Ribeiro V. A. R. M. and Williams S. C., 2019, Nature, 565, 460

The accretion of hydrogen onto a white dwarf star ignites a classical nova eruption - a thermonuclear runaway in the accumulated envelope of gas, leading to luminosities up to a million times that of the Sun and a high-velocity mass ejection that produces a remnant shell (mainly consisting of insterstellar medium). Close to the upper mass limit of a white dwarf (1.4 solar masses), rapid accretion of hydrogen (about 10-7 solar masses per year) from a stellar companion leads to frequent eruptions on timescales of years to decades. Such binary systems are known as recurrent novae. The ejecta of recurrent novae, initially moving at velocities of up to 10,000 kilometres per second, must 'sweep up' the surrounding interstellar medium, creating cavities in space around the nova binary. No remnant larger than one parsec across from any single classical or recurrent nova eruption is known, but thousands of successive recurrent nova eruptions should be capable of generating shells hundreds of parsecs across. Here we report that the most frequently recurring nova, M31N 2008-12a in the Andromeda galaxy (Messier 31 or NGC 224), which erupts annually, is indeed surrounded by such a super-remnant with a projected size of at least 134 by 90 parsecs. Larger than almost all known remnants of even supernova explosions, the existence of this shell demonstrates that the nova M31N 2008-12a has erupted with high frequency for millions of years.

Darnley et al. 2019