Classical Novae in Andromeda: Light Curves from the Palomar Transient Factory and GALEX


We present optical light curves of 29 novae in M31 during the 2009 and 2010 observing seasons of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). The dynamic and rapid cadences in PTF monitoring of M31, from one day to ten minutes, provide excellent temporal coverage of nova light curves, enabling us to record the photometric evolution of M31 novae in unprecedented detail. We also detect eight of these novae in the near-ultraviolet (UV) band with the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite. Novae M31N 2009-10b and M31N 2010-11a show prominent UV emission peaking a few days prior to their optical maxima, possibly implying aspherical outbursts. Additionally, our blueshifted spectrum of the recent outburst of PT And (M31N 2010-12a) indicates that it is a recurrent nova in M31 and not a dwarf nova in the Milky Way as was previously assumed. Finally, we systematically searched for novae in all confirmed globular clusters (GCs) of M31 and found only M31N 2010-10f associated with Bol 126. The specific nova rate in the M31 GC system is thus about one per year, which is not enhanced relative to the rate outside the GC system.

Astrophysical Journal