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Nova M31N 2007-12b: Supersoft X-rays reveal an intermediate polar?

By W. Pietsch, M. Henze, F. Haberl, M. Hernanz, G. Sala, D. H. Hartmann and M. Della Valle


For the He/N nova M31N 2007-12b, we analyzed XMM-Newton EPIC and Chandra HRC-I observations of our monitoring program performed at intervals of ten days and added results of a XMM-Newton target of opportunity observation and Swift XRT observations. The supersoft source (SSS) emission started between 21 and 30 d after the optical outburst and ended between 60 and 120 d after outburst, making M31N 2007-12b one of the few novae with the shortest SSS phase known. The X-ray spectrum was supersoft and can be fitted with a white dwarf (WD) atmosphere model with solar abundances absorbed by the Galactic foreground. The temperature of the WD atmosphere seems to increase at the beginning of the SSS phase from ~70 to ~80 eV. The luminosity of M31N 2007-12b during maximum was at the Eddington limit of a massive WD and dropped by ~30% in the observation 60 d after outburst. The radius of the emission region is ~6x10^8 cm. In the four bright state observations, we detected a stable 1110 s pulsation, which we interpret as the WD rotation period. In addition, we detect dips in three observations that might represent a 4.9 h or 9.8 h binary period of the system. Nova envelope models with <50% mixing between solar-like accreted material and the degenerate core of the WD can be used to describe the data. We derive a WD mass of 1.2 Msun, as well as an ejected and burned mass of 2.0x10^{-6} Msun} and 0.2x10^{-6} Msun, respectively. The observed periodicities indicate that nova M31N 2007-12b erupted in an intermediate polar (IP) system. The WD photospheric radius seems to be larger than expected for a non-magnetic WD but in the range for magnetic WDs in an IP system. (abridged)Comment: 10 pages, 5 figures, A&A accepte

Topics: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1051/0004-6361/201116756
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