AT 2019qyl in NGC 300: Internal Collisions in the Early Outflow from a Very Fast Nova in a Symbiotic Binary

Jacob E. Jencson*, Jennifer E. Andrews, Howard E. Bond, Viraj Karambelkar, David J. Sand, Schuyler D. Van Dyk, Nadejda Blagorodnova, Martha L. Boyer, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Ryan M. Lau, Shazrene Mohamed, Robert Williams, Patricia A. Whitelock, Rachael C. Amaro, K. Azalee Bostroem, Yize Dong, Michael J. Lundquist, Stefano Valenti, Samuel D. Wyatt, Jamie BurkeKishalay De, Saurabh W. Jha, Joel Johansson, César Rojas-Bravo, David A. Coulter, Ryan J. Foley, Robert D. Gehrz, Joshua Haislip, Daichi Hiramatsu, D. Andrew Howell, Charles D. Kilpatrick, Frank J. Masci, Curtis McCully, Chow Choong Ngeow, Yen Chen Pan, Craig Pellegrino, Anthony L. Piro, Vladimir Kouprianov, Daniel E. Reichart, Armin Rest, Sofia Rest, Nathan Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Nova eruptions, thermonuclear explosions on the surfaces of white dwarfs (WDs), are now recognized to be among the most common shock-powered astrophysical transients. We present the early discovery and rapid ultraviolet (UV), optical, and infrared (IR) temporal development of AT 2019qyl, a recent nova in the nearby Sculptor Group galaxy NGC 300. The light curve shows a rapid rise lasting ≲1 day, reaching a peak absolute magnitude of MV = -9.2 mag and a very fast decline, fading by 2 mag over 3.5 days. A steep dropoff in the light curves after 71 days and the rapid decline timescale suggest a low-mass ejection from a massive WD with M WD ⪆ 1.2 M o˙. We present an unprecedented view of the early spectroscopic evolution of such an event. Three spectra prior to the peak reveal a complex, multicomponent outflow giving rise to internal collisions and shocks in the ejecta of an He/N-class nova. We identify a coincident IR-variable counterpart in the extensive preeruption coverage of the transient location and infer the presence of a symbiotic progenitor system with an O-rich asymptotic-giant-branch donor star, as well as evidence for an earlier UV-bright outburst in 2014. We suggest that AT 2019qyl is analogous to the subset of Galactic recurrent novae with red-giant companions such as RS Oph and other embedded nova systems like V407 Cyg. Our observations provide new evidence that internal shocks between multiple, distinct outflow components likely contribute to the generation of the shock-powered emission from such systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 20 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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