Hubble Space Telescope observations of novae in M49

Laura Ferrarese, Patrick Côté, Andrés Jordán

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37 Scopus citations


A search for novae in M49 (NGC 4472) has been undertaken with the Hubble Space Telescope. A 55 day observing campaign in F555W (19 epochs) and F814W (five epochs) has led to the discovery of nine novae. We find that M49 may be underabundant in slow, faint novae relative to the Milky Way and M31. Instead, the decline rates of the M49 novae are remarkably similar to those of novae in the LMC. This fact argues against a simple classification of novae in "bulge" and "disk" subclasses. We examine the maximum magnitude versus rate of decline (MMRD) relation for novae in M49, finding only marginal agreement with the Galactic and M31 MMRD relations. A recalibration of the Buscombe-de Vaucouleurs relation gives an absolute magnitude 15 days past maximum of MV,15 = -6.36 ± 0.19, which is substantially brighter than previous calibrations based on Galactic novae. Monte Carlo simulations yield a global nova rate for M49 of θ = 100-30 +35yr-1 and a luminosity-specific nova rate in the range νK = 1.7-2.5 yr-1 10-10 L K⊙. These rates are far lower than those predicted by current models of nova production in elliptical galaxies and may point to a relative scarcity of novae progenitors or an increased recurrence timescale in early-type environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1302-1319
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: individual (M49, NGC 4472)
  • Galaxies: star clusters
  • Novae, cataclysmic variables
  • Stars: distances


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