Evolution of the symbiotic nova PU VUL - Outbursting white dwarf, nebulae, and pulsating red giant companion

Mariko Kato, Joanna Mikołajewska, Izumi Hachisu

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20 Citations (Scopus)


We present a composite light-curve model of the symbiotic nova PUVul (Nova Vulpeculae 1979) that shows a long-lasting flat optical peak followed by a slow decline. Our model light curve consists of three components of emission, i.e., an outbursting white dwarf (WD), its M-giant companion, and the nebulae. The WD component dominates in the flat peak while the nebulae dominate after the photospheric temperature of the WD rises to log T (K) ≳ 4.5, suggesting its WD origin. We analyze the 1980 and 1994 eclipses to be total eclipses of the WD occulted by the pulsating M-giant companion with two sources of the nebular emission; one is an unocculted nebula of the M-giant's cool-wind origin and the other is a partially occulted nebula associated to the WD. We confirmed our theoretical outburst model of PUVul by new observational estimates, which spanned 32 yr, of the temperature and radius. Also our eclipse analysis confirmed that the WD photosphere decreased by two orders of magnitude between the 1980 and 1994 eclipses. We obtain the reddening E(B - V) 0.3 and distance to PUVul d 4.7 kpc. We interpret the recent recovery of brightness in terms of eclipse of the hot nebula surrounding the WD, suggesting that hydrogen burning is ongoing. To detect supersoft X-rays, we recommend X-ray observations around 2014 June when absorption by neutral hydrogen is minimum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • binaries: symbiotic
  • novae, cataclysmic variables
  • stars: individual (PU Vul)
  • stars: late-type
  • ultraviolet: stars
  • white dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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