Discovery of an old nova remnant in the Galactic globular cluster M 22 - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2019

Discovery of an old nova remnant in the Galactic globular cluster M 22

Fabian Göttgens
  • Function : Author
Peter M. Weilbacher
  • Function : Author
Martin M. Roth
  • Function : Author
Stefan Dreizler
  • Function : Author
Benjamin Giesers
  • Function : Author
Tim-Oliver Husser
  • Function : Author
Sebastian Kamann
  • Function : Author
Jarle Brinchmann
  • Function : Author
Wolfram Kollatschny
  • Function : Author
Ana Monreal-Ibero
  • Function : Author
Kasper B. Schmidt
  • Function : Author
Martin Wendt
  • Function : Author
Lutz Wisotzki
  • Function : Author


A nova is a cataclysmic event on the surface of a white dwarf in a binary system that increases the overall brightness by several orders of magnitude. Although binary systems with a white dwarf are expected to be overabundant in globular clusters compared with in the Galaxy, only two novae from Galactic globular clusters have been observed. We present the discovery of an emission nebula in the Galactic globular cluster M 22 (NGC 6656) in observations made with the integral-field spectrograph MUSE. We extracted the spectrum of the nebula and used the radial velocity determined from the emission lines to confirm that the nebula is part of NGC 6656. Emission-line ratios were used to determine the electron temperature and density. It is estimated to have a mass of 1-17 × 10-5M. This mass and the emission-line ratios indicate that the nebula is a nova remnant. Its position coincides with the reported location of a "guest star", an ancient Chinese term for transients, observed in May 48 BCE. With this discovery, this nova may be one of the oldest confirmed extra-solar events recorded in human history.

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Dates and versions

insu-03711425 , version 1 (02-07-2022)



Fabian Göttgens, Peter M. Weilbacher, Martin M. Roth, Stefan Dreizler, Benjamin Giesers, et al.. Discovery of an old nova remnant in the Galactic globular cluster M 22. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2019, 626, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201935221⟩. ⟨insu-03711425⟩
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