AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 125 (Super)Novae (Remnants) and Black Holes
Oral, Thursday, January 8, 2004, 10:00-11:30am, Centennial IV

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[125.03] An Erupting Classical Nova in an M87 Globular Cluster

M.M. Shara, D.R. Zurek (American Museum of Natural History), E.A. Baltz (Columbia University), T.R. Lauer (NOAO), J. Silk (University of Oxford)

Only one certain classical nova eruption has ever been detected inside a globular cluster - nova 1860 A.D. (T Sco) in M80. During a month-long HST survey of M87 we have detected an erupting star coincident (to within 0.08 pixels) with a globular cluster of that giant elliptical galaxy. We are able to discount variables in the foreground or background of M87. The light curve and color of the erupting star match those expected for a nova at the distance of M87. The chance superposition of an M87 field nova on the globular cluster is very unlikely. Our detection hints at a globular cluster nova rate of up to 0.004 novae/cluster/year, much higher than previous observations have suggested.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.