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X-Ray Flashes in Recurrent Novae: M31N 2008-12a and the Implications of the Swift Non-detection

Kato, M and Saio, H and Henze, M and Ness, J-U and Osborne, JP and Page, KL and Darnley, MJ and Bode, MF and Shafter, AW and Hernanz, M and Gehrels, N and Kennea, J and Hachisu, I (2016) X-Ray Flashes in Recurrent Novae: M31N 2008-12a and the Implications of the Swift Non-detection. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 830 (1). ISSN 0004-637X

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Abstract

Models of nova outbursts suggest that an X-ray flash should occur just after hydrogen ignition. However, this X-ray flash has never been observationally confirmed. We present four theoretical light curves of the X-ray flash for two very massive white dwarfs (WDs) of 1.380 and 1.385 M_sun and for two recurrence periods of 0.5 and 1 years. The duration of the X-ray flash is shorter for a more massive WD and for a longer recurrence period. The shortest duration of 14 hours (0.6 days) among the four cases is obtained for the 1.385 M_sun WD with one year recurrence period. In general, a nova explosion is relatively weak for a very short recurrence period, which results in a rather slow evolution toward the optical peak. This slow timescale and the predictability of very short recurrence period novae give us a chance to observe X-ray flashes of recurrent novae. In this context, we report the first attempt, using the Swift observatory, to detect an X-ray flash of the recurrent nova M31N 2008-12a (0.5 or 1 year recurrence period), which resulted in the non-detection of X-ray emission during the period of 8 days before the optical detection. We discuss the impact of these observations on nova outburst theory. The X-ray flash is one of the last frontiers of nova studies and its detection is essentially important to understand the pre-optical-maximum phase. We encourage further observations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.HE; astro-ph.HE; astro-ph.SR
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Astronomical Society and IOP Publishing
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Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2016 09:16
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 13:45
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4003

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