No Expanding Fireball: Resolving the Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi with Infrared Interferometry

J. D. Monnier, R. K. Barry, W. A. Traub, B. F. Lane, R. L. Akeson, S. Ragland, P. A. Schuller, H. Le Coroller, J.-P. Berger, R. Millan-Gabet, E. Pedretti, F. P. Schloerb, C. Koresko, N. P. Carleton, M. G. Lacasse, P. Kern, F. Malbet, K. Perraut, M. J. Kuchner, M. W. Muterspaugh

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Abstract

Following the recent outburst of the recurrent nova RS Oph on 2006 February 12, we measured its near-infrared size using the IOTA, Keck, and PTI Interferometers at multiple epochs. The characteristic size of ~3 mas hardly changed over the first 60 days of the outburst, ruling out currently popular models whereby the near-infrared emission arises from hot gas in the expanding shock. The emission was also found to be significantly asymmetric, evidenced by nonzero closure phases detected by IOTA. The physical interpretation of these data depends strongly on the adopted distance to RS Oph. Our data can be interpreted as the first direct detection of the underlying RS Oph binary, lending support to the recent ``reborn red giant'' models of Hachisu & Kato. However, this result hinges on an RS Oph distance of
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) L127-L130
Number of pages4
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Volume647
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006

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Monnier, J. D., Barry, R. K., Traub, W. A., Lane, B. F., Akeson, R. L., Ragland, S., ... Muterspaugh, M. W. (2006). No Expanding Fireball: Resolving the Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi with Infrared Interferometry. The Astrophysical Journal, 647(2), L127-L130.