The 2006 Explosion of the Recurrent Symbiotic Nova RS Ophiuchi

Jeremy J. Drake, S. Starrfield, J.-u. Ness, J. Krautter, M. Orio, G. Schwarz, M. F. Bode, A. N. Evans, R. D. Gehrz, C. E. Woodward, T. J. O’Brien, T. J. Gehrels, J. P. Osborne, A. P. Beardmore, Kim Page, H. E. Bond, Stewart Eyres, R. Davis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi exploded on 2006 February 12---its first outburst since 1985. The system comprises a white dwarf near the Chandrasekhar limit in orbit with a red giant with a massive wind. X-ray observations began within a few days of discovery and include data from RXTE, Swift, Chandra, and XMM-Newton. These observations, in combination with radio observations obtained with the VLA and VLBA,
confirm the currently favoured picture for the outburst in which
ejecta from a thermonuclear runaway on the surface of the accreting white dwarf impact ambient wind material from the red giant. X-rays initially arose from the blast wave that reached temperatures of $10^8$ K and exhibited prominent lines from highly ionised species of N, O, Mg, Ne, Si, S and Fe. The momentum-conserving shock system is analogous to that of supernova remnants, but evolving over months rather than millennia. Subsequently, a supersoft source powered by
nuclear burning on the white dwarf surface emerged. This phase
continued until May 13, 2006 when the decay in the SWIFT count rate indicated the SSS essentially turned off and RS Oph entered its nebular phase. We will report on high resolution Chandra spectra obtained at different phases of the outburst, together with an extensive set of lower resolution SWIFT monitoring observations, that together provide an unprecedented view of this type of nova outburst.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Subtitle of host publicationAmerican Astronomical Society, HEAD meeting #9, id.3.05
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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