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Proceedings Paper

First science with the Keck Interferometer Nuller: high spatial resolution N-band observations of the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi
Author(s): R. K. Barry; W. C. Danchi; W. Traub; M. Kuchner; J. P. Wisniewski; R. Akeson; M. Colavita; M. A. Greenhouse; C. Koresko; B. Mennesson; E. Serabyn; J. L. Sokoloski
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Paper Abstract

We report observations of the nova RS Ophiuchi using the Keck Interferometer Nuller (KIN) taken approximately 3.8 days following the most recent outburst that occurred on 2006 February 12. The KIN operates in N-band from 8 to 12.5 μm in a nulling mode. In this mode the stellar light is suppressed by a destructive fringe, effectively enhancing the contrast of the circumstellar material located near the star. In a second, constructive-fringe mode, the instrument detects primarily the light from the central, bright source. These are the outer and inner spatial regimes, respectively. We will describe the capabilities of the KIN, including these unique modes, and outline how they were key in our discovery that dust was created between nova events. We also show how these first results from the KIN are consistent with Spitzer data. The KIN data show evidence of enhanced neutral atomic hydrogen emission and atomic metals including silicon located in the inner spatial regime (< 4 AU from theWD) relative to the outer regime. There are also nebular emission lines and evidence of hot silicate dust in the outer spatial region, centered at approximately ~ 17 AU from the WD, that are not found in the inner regime. The KIN and Spitzer data suggest that these emissions were excited in the outer spatial regime before the blast wave reached these regions. We describe the present results in terms of a new model for dust creation in recurrent novae that includes an increase in density in the plane of the orbit of the two stars created by a spiral shock wave caused by the motion of the stars through the cool wind of the red giant star. These data show the power and potential of the nulling technique which has been developed for the detection of Earth-like planets around nearby stars for the Terrestrial Planet Finder Mission and Darwin missions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 July 2008
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7013, Optical and Infrared Interferometry, 70130Q (28 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.787085
Show Author Affiliations
R. K. Barry, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
W. C. Danchi, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
W. Traub, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
M. Kuchner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
J. P. Wisniewski, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
R. Akeson, California Institute of Technology, Michelson Science Ctr. (United States)
M. Colavita, California Institute of Technology, Michelson Science Ctr. (United States)
M. A. Greenhouse, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
C. Koresko, California Institute of Technology, Michelson Science Ctr. (United States)
B. Mennesson, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
E. Serabyn, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
J. L. Sokoloski, Columbia Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7013:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry
Markus Schöller; William C. Danchi; Françoise Delplancke, Editor(s)

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