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[en] A multi-epoch Hα survey of the early-type spiral galaxy M94 (NGC 4736) has been completed as part of a program to establish the galaxy's nova rate. A total of four nova candidates were discovered in seven epochs of observation during the period from 2005 to 2007. After making corrections for temporal coverage and spatial completeness, a global nova rate of 5.0+1.8-1.4 yr-1 was determined. This rate corresponds to a specific-luminosity nova rate of 1.4 ± 0.5 novae per year per 1010 Lsun,K when the K luminosity is determined from the B - K color, or 1.5 ± 0.4 novae per year per 1010 Lsun,K when the K luminosity is derived from the Two Micron All Sky Survey. These values are slightly lower than that of other galaxies with measured nova rates, which typically lie in the range of 2-3 novae per year per 1010 Lsun in the K band.
[en] A multi-epoch Hα survey of the late-type spiral galaxy NGC 2403 has been completed in order to determine its nova rate. A total of nine nova candidates were discovered in 48 nights of observation with two different telescopes over the period from 2001 February to 2012 April. After making corrections for temporal coverage and spatial completeness, a nova rate of 2.0+0.5–0.3 yr–1 was determined. This rate corresponds to a luminosity-specific nova rate of 2.5 ± 0.7 novae per year per 1010 L ☉,K. This value is consistent with that of the similar Hubble-type galaxy, M33, and is typical of those of other galaxies with measured nova rates, which range from 1 to 3 novae per year per 1010 L ☉,K.
[en] We report the results of the first infrared survey of novae in M31. Both photometric and spectroscopic observations of a sample of 10 novae (M31N 2006-09c, 2006-10a, 2006-10b, 2006-11a, 2007-07f, 2007-08a, 2007-08d, 2007-10a, 2007-11d, and 2007-11e) were obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope. The observations, which were obtained between ∼3 and ∼7 months after discovery, revealed evidence for dust formation in two of the novae: M31N 2006-10a and (possibly) 2007-07f, and [Ne II] 12.8 μm line emission in a third (2007-11e). The Spitzer observations were supplemented with ground-based optical photometric and spectroscopic data that were used to determine the speed classes and spectroscopic types of the novae. After including data for dust-forming Galactic novae, we show that dust formation timescales are correlated with nova speed class in that dust typically forms earlier in faster novae. Our failure to detect the signature of dust formation in most of our M31 sample is likely a result of the relatively long delay between nova eruption and our Spitzer observations. The two novae for which we found evidence of dust formation were the two 'slowest' novae in our sample. Finally, as expected, we found that the majority of the novae in our sample belong to the Fe II spectroscopic class, with only one clear example of the He/N class (M31N 2006-10b). Typical of an He/N system, M31N 2006-10b was the fastest nova in our sample, not detected with the IRS, and just barely detected in three of the IRAC bands when it was observed ∼4 months after eruption.
[en] In star-forming galaxies, dust plays a significant role in shaping the ultraviolet (UV) through infrared (IR) spectrum. Dust attenuates the radiation from stars, and re-radiates the energy through equilibrium and non-equilibrium emission. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), graphite, and silicates contribute to different features in the spectral energy distribution; however, they are all highly opaque in the same spectral region-the UV. Compared to old stellar populations, young populations release a higher fraction of their total luminosity in the UV, making them a good source of the energetic UV photons that can power dust emission. However, given their relative abundance, the question of whether young or old stellar populations provide most of these photons that power the IR emission is an interesting question. Using three samples of galaxies observed with the Spitzer Space Telescope and our dusty radiative transfer model, we find that young stellar populations (on the order of 100 million years old) dominate the dust heating in star-forming galaxies, and old stellar populations (13 billion years old) generally contribute less than 20% of the far-IR luminosity.
[en] We have obtained a full suite of Spitzer observations to characterize the debris disk around HR 8799 and to explore how its properties are related to the recently discovered set of three massive planets orbiting the star. We distinguish three components to the debris system: (1) warm dust (T ∼ 150 K) orbiting within the innermost planet; (2) a broad zone of cold dust (T ∼ 45 K) with a sharp inner edge orbiting just outside the outermost planet and presumably sculpted by it; and (3) a dramatic halo of small grains originating in the cold dust component. The high level of dynamical activity implied by this halo may arise due to enhanced gravitational stirring by the massive planets. The relatively young age of HR 8799 places it in an important early stage of development and may provide some help in understanding the interaction of planets and planetary debris, an important process in the evolution of our own solar system.
[en] We report the results of a multi-year spectroscopic and photometric survey of novae in M31 that resulted in a total of 53 spectra of 48 individual nova candidates. Two of these, M31N 1995-11e and M31N 2007-11g, were revealed to be long-period Mira variables, not novae. These data double the number of spectra extant for novae in M31 through the end of 2009 and bring to 91 the number of M31 novae with known spectroscopic classifications. We find that 75 novae (82%) are confirmed or likely members of the Fe II spectroscopic class, with the remaining 16 novae (18%) belonging to the He/N (and related) classes. These numbers are consistent with those found for Galactic novae. We find no compelling evidence that spectroscopic class depends sensitively on spatial position or population within M31 (i.e., bulge versus disk), although the distribution for He/N systems appears slightly more extended than that for the Fe II class. We confirm the existence of a correlation between speed class and ejection velocity (based on line width), as in the case of Galactic novae. Follow-up photometry allowed us to determine light-curve parameters for a total of 47 of the 91 novae with known spectroscopic class. We confirm that more luminous novae generally fade the fastest and that He/N novae are typically faster and brighter than their Fe II counterparts. In addition, we find a weak dependence of nova speed class on position in M31, with the spatial distribution of the fastest novae being slightly more extended than that of slower novae.