Photometric evolution, orbital modulation and progenitor of nova mon 2012

U. Munari, S. Dallaporta, F. Castellani, P. Valisa, A. Frigo, L. Chomiuk, V. A.R.M. Ribeiro

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26 Citations (Scopus)


We present and discuss accurate and densely mapped BVRCIC light curves of the neon Nova Mon 2012, supplemented by the evolution in Stromgren b and y bands and in the integrated flux of relevant emission lines. Our monitoring started with the optical discovery of the nova (50 days past the first detection in gamma-rays by Fermi-LAT) and extend to day +270, well past the end of the super-soft phase in X-rays. The nova was discovered during the nebular decline, well past t3 and the transition to optically thin ejecta. It displayed very smoothly evolving light curves. A bifurcation between y and V light curves took place at the start of the super-soft X-ray source (SSS) phase, and a knee developed towards the end of the SSS phase. The apparent magnitude of the nova at the unobserved optical maximum is constrained to+3 ≤ V ≤ 4.5. The appearance, grow in amplitude and then demise of a 0.29585 (±0.00002) days orbital modulation of the optical brightness was followed along the nova evolution. The observed modulation, identical in phase and period with the analogue seen in the X-ray and satellite ultraviolet, has a near-sinusoidal shape and a weak secondary minimum at phase 0.5. We favour an interpretation in terms of super-imposed ellipsoidal distortion of the Roche lobe filling companion and irradiation of its side facing the WD. Similar light curves are typical of symbiotic stars where a Roche lobe filling giant is irradiated by a very hot WD. Given the high orbital inclination, mutual occultation between the donor star and the accretion disc could contribute to the observed modulation. The optical+infrared spectral energy distribution of Nova Mon 2012 during the quiescence preceding outburst is nicely fitted by an early K-type main-sequence star (~K3V) at 1.5 kpc distance, reddened by E(B - V) = 0.38, with a WD companion and an accretion disc contributing to the observed blue excess and moderate Ha emission. A typical early K-type main-sequence star with a mass of ~0.75M and a radius of ~0.8 R would fill its Roche lobe for a P = 0.29585 d orbital period and a more massive WD companion (as implied by the large Ne overabundance of the ejecta).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-781
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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