The first resolved and detected classical nova shell in X-rays: The shell of Nova Persei 1901

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Balman S. , Ogelman H.

ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, vol.518, no.2, 1999 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 518 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Doi Number: 10.1086/312069
  • Title of Journal : ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL
  • Keywords: binaries : close, novae, cataclysmic variables, radiation mechanisms : thermal, stars : individual (GK Persei), X-rays : stars, GK-PERSEI, T-PYXIDIS, EMISSION, REMNANTS, MODEL


We present the ROSAT High-Resolution Imager data of the first resolved and detected classical nova shell in the X-ray wavelengths: the shell of Nova Persei 1901. We find that the X-ray nebula is composed of knots/clumps and has an elliptical shape with a total count rate of about 0.01 +/- 0.001 counts s(-1). We estimate that the spectrum is of thermal origin with a luminosity of similar to 8.0 x 10(31) ergs s(-1) and an X-ray temperature of similar to 2.0 x 10(6) K in the 0.1-2.4 keV energy range. The knots/clumps are a result of fragmentation and condensation in the postshock region. The estimated electron density in the knots/clumps is about 10.0 cm(-3) less than or equal to n(e) less than or equal to 70.0 cm(-3). We suggest that the detected X-ray nebula could also be the reverse shock zone. This detection sheds light into one of the most poorly understood stages of the classical nova evolution.