Connecting RS OPh to [some] Type Ia Supernovae


Aims. Recurrent nova systems like RS Oph have been proposed as a possible channel to Type Ia Supernova explosions, based on the high mass of the accreting white dwarf. Additional support to this hypothesis has been recently provided by the detection of circum-stellar material around SN 2006X and SN 2007le, showing a structure compatible with that expected for recurrent nova outbursts. In this paper we investigate the circumstellar environment of RS Oph and its structure, with the aim of establishing a firmer and independent link between this class of objects and Type Ia SN progenitors. Methods. We study the time evolution of Ca ii, Na i and K i absorption features in RS Oph, before, during, and after the last outburst, using multi-epoch, high-resolution spectroscopy, and applying the same method adopted for SN 2006X and SN 2007le. Results. A number of components, blue-shifted with respect to the systemic velocity of RS Oph, are detected. In particular, one fea-ture strongly weakens in the first two weeks after the outburst, simultaneously with the disappearance of very narrow P-Cyg profiles overimposed on the much wider nova emission lines of H, He, Fe ii and other elements. Conclusions. We interpret these facts as the signature of density enhancements in the circumstellar material, suggesting that the recurrent eruptions might indeed create complex structures within the material lost by the donor star. This establishes a strong lin

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