We report Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging, obtained 155 and 449 days after the 2006 outburst of the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi, together with ground-based spectroscopic observations, obtained from the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional en San Pedro Mrtir, Baja California, México and at the Observatorio Astrofísico Guillermo Haro, at Cananea, Sonora, México. The observations at the first epoch were used as inputs to model the geometry and kinematic structure of the evolving RS Oph nebular remnant. We find that the modeled remnant comprises two distinct co-aligned bipolar components; a low-velocity, high-density innermost (hour glass) region and a more extended, high-velocity (dumbbell) structure. This overall structure is in agreement with that deduced from radio observations and optical interferometry at earlier epochs. We find that the asymmetry observed in the west lobe is an instrumental effect caused by the profile of the HST filter and hence demonstrate that this lobe is approaching the observer. We then conclude that the system has an inclination to the line of sight of 39+1° -10. This is in agreement with the inclination of the binary orbit and lends support to the proposal that this morphology is due to the interaction of the outburst ejecta with either an accretion disk around the central white dwarf and/or a pre-existing red giant wind that is significantly denser in the equatorial regions of the binary than at the poles. The second epoch HST observation was also modeled. However, as no spectra were taken at this epoch, it is more difficult to constrain any model. Nevertheless, we demonstrate that between the two HST epochs the outer dumbbell structure seems to have expanded linearly. For the central (hour glass) region, there may be evidence of deceleration, but it is harder to draw firm conclusions in this case.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science