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Session 65 - Invited Talk: Shafter.
Oral session, Thursday, June 11

[65.01] Novae in External Galaxies

A. W. Shafter (SDSU)

The study of novae arising in differing environments can shed new light on our understanding of how binary star formation and evolution may depend on the underlying stellar population. Novae are well suited to this task because their luminous eruptions enable them to be identified, not only in the Galaxy, but in external galaxies as well. The ability to detect extragalactic novae is crucial because patchy interstellar absorption and the resulting difficulty in determining accurate distances limits the usefulness of Galactic observations in establishing the spatial distribution and population of novae. On the other hand, observations of novae in a nearby, spatially-resolved galaxy provides an equidistant sample of novae in a setting where the spatial distribution and population can be more easily studied.

Novae have been studied in external galaxies for almost a century, beginning in earnest with Hubble's pionering observations in M31. In more recent years, novae have been observed in several additional galaxies, with some as distant as the Virgo cluster. In this talk, I will briefly review the history of extragalactic nova observations, and then highlight recent results from an on-going extragalactic nova survey program. The principal goal of the current program is to explore the population of nova progenitors through observations of the spatial distribution of novae in galaxies spanning a wide range in Hubble types. Galaxies to be discussed from the current program include the spirals M31, M81, M51, and M101, and the giant elliptical, M87.

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Program listing for Thursday