Slowest classical nova ever observed and early premaximum
spectra were obtained.
The Astronomer's Telegram http://www.astronomerstelegram.org
ATEL #15355 ATEL #15355
Title: Intriguing developments in the slowly rising Galactic optical
transient Gaia22alz (AT2022bpq)
Author: E. Aydi, K. V. Sokolovsky, J. Strader, L. Chomiuk, A. Kawash
(MSU), J. Brink, D. A. H. Buckley (SAAO/UCT), M. Orio (UoW/INAF),
J. Mikolajewska (NCAC), K. Z. Stanek, C. S. Kochanek (OSU), and B.
J. Shappee (Univ. of Hawaii)
Posted: 29 Apr 2022; 21:18 UT
Subjects:Optical, Ultra-Violet, X-ray, Binary, Cataclysmic Variable,
Nova, Star, Transient, Variables
We report on multi-wavelength follow up of the slowly rising Galactic optical
transient Gaia22alz (AT2022bpq), which was discovered by Gaia on 2022-02-04.2UT
(https://www.wis-tns.org/object/2022bpq). Earlier follow up by Brink et
al. (ATel #15270) on 2022-03-11 reported optical spectra dominated by emission
lines of Balmer, He II, He I, and C IV, characterized by a FWHM of around
400-500 km/s. Based on photometry from the All-Sky Automated Survey for
SNe (ASAS-SN; Shappee et al. 2014, ApJ, 788, 48S and Kochanek et al. 2017PASP,
129, 4502) the transient, which started around 2022-01-25, is still rising
slowly and reached a magnitude g = 13.1 on 2022-04-29 (see below a link
to the latest ASAS-SN light curve). In archival data from the Dark Energy
Camera Plane Survey (DECaPS; Schlafly 2018, ApJs 234, 39) the source has
a pre-outburst magnitude g = 18.9, implying a current outburst amplitude
of 5.8 mag.
We have obtained a series of low-, medium-, and high-resolution optical
spectra on 2022-03-15, 04-03, 04-09, 04-10, 04-14, and 04-21 using the
Goodman spectrograph (Clemens et al. 2004, SPIE, 5492, 331) on the 4.1-m
SOAR telescope (Cerro Pachon, Chile) and the High Resolution Spectrograph
(HRS; Crause et al. 2014, Proc. SPIE, 91476) mounted on the 11-m Southern
African Large Telescope as part of the SALT Large Science Program on Transients.
The spectrum obtained on 2022-03-15 showed similar features to the ones
reported in Brink et al. (ATel #15270). However, from 2022-04-03 onwards,
the spectra showed dramatic changes with the He II and C IV emission lines
fading considerably, and the Balmer and He I lines developing prominent
P Cygni absorption profiles at blueshifted velocities of 1700-1800 km/s,
indicating the presence of an optically thick outflow. The spectra at this
stage resemble those of classical novae before optical peak, but further
follow up are required to determine the nature of this event. The slowly
rising light curve and the spectral changes make this an interesting transient
and multi-wavelength follow up are highly encouraged.
Based on the absorption by diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) and the empirical
relations from Friedman et al. 2011 (ApJ 727, 33), we derive E(B-V) = 1.5
mag and Av = 4.65 mag, assuming Rv = 3.1. This is higher than the estimate
of Av = 3.472 mag from the Schlafly et al. (2011, ApJ 737, 1035) Galactic
The Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory observed Gaia22alz for 0.7ks on 2022-04-20.53
(JD 2459690.03). Swift/XRT detected no X-ray source at the position of
the nova with an upper limit of 0.003 +/-0.002 cts/s. Assuming emission
by a kT= 2 keV thermal plasma and an HI column density of 76.10x10^20 cm^-2
(Kalberla et al. 2005 A&A, 440, 775) this translates to an unabsorbed 0.3-10.0
keV flux limit of 7x10^-13 ergs/cm^2/s. An ultraviolet source is detected
at the position of the transient by Swift/UVOT with UVW2 magnitude = 15.01
+\- 0.03 (Vega system).
The ASAS-SN sky patrol light curve can be found here: https://asas-sn.osu.edu/sky-patrol/coordinate/cef95f4e-66e7-4a2b-ad65-608ca…
This ATel is based on observations obtained at the Southern Astrophysical
Research (SOAR) telescope, which is a joint project of MCTIC/LNA, the U.S.
NSF's NOAO, UNC, and MSU. We also acknowledge ESA Gaia, DPAC and the Photometric
Science Alerts Team (<a href="http://gsaweb.ast.cam.ac.uk/alerts">http://gsaweb.ast.cam.ac.uk/alerts</a>).
We thank the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory team and PI, Brad Cenko, for
rapid scheduling these ToO observations.
The Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey (DECaPS; NOAO Proposal ID 2016A-0323
and 2016B-0279, PI: D. Finkbeiner) includes data obtained at the Blanco
telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, National Optical Astronomy
Password Certification: Elias Aydi (aydielia(a)msu.edu)