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IAUC 6126: RE J1255+266; N Cas 1993

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                                                  Circular No. 6126
Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
Postal Address: Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
IAUSUBS@CFA.HARVARD.EDU or FAX 617-495-7231 (subscriptions)
Phone 617-495-7244/7440/7444     TWX 710-320-6842 ASTROGRAM CAM

RE J1255+266
     M. G. Watson, University of Leicester; R. G. McMahon, Institute
of Astronomy, Cambridge; and M. J. Page, MSSL, University College,
London, report:  "We looked for an optical counterpart to the
extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) transient RE J1255+266 (IAUC 6085) on
Jan. 12 with the William Herschel 4.2-m telescope (+ ISIS
spectrograph).  We propose as the counterpart a blue star of mag V
= 18.5, lying 72" from the reported position of RE J1255+266, which
is outside the quoted error circle (ibid.).  Nevertheless, the
unusual characteristics of this star strongly suggest that it is
the correct counterpart.  It is the bluest optical object visible
on the Palomar Sky Survey within a radius of 180".  From the APM
measurement of the POSS, the counterpart is located at R.A. =
12h55m10s.7, Decl. = +26o42'28" (equinox 2000.0, epoch 1955.3,
uncertainty +/- 1").  The optical spectrum shows a blue continuum
together with broad Balmer hydrogen absorption lines, characteristic
of a DA white dwarf.  In addition, very strong, narrow Balmer
emission lines are seen.  If the identification is correct, this
spectrum suggests that RE J1255+266 is a binary system with a
low-mass companion heated by the white dwarf.  The EUV outburst of
this object might be associated with a brief episode of accretion
onto the white dwarf if the system is close to being semi-detached,
suggesting a short orbital period of < 4 hr.  Spectroscopic and
photometric observations are urged."

     D. K. Lynch, R. W. Russell, R. C. Kellogg, and A. L. Mazuk, The
Aerospace Corporation; and M. S. Hanner, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
report on their spectroscopy (range 3-14 microns, resolution 30-130)
from the Infrared Telescope Facility at Mauna Kea:  "On 1994 Dec.
14.3 UT, the nova showed a strong infrared excess, with infrared
magnitudes L = 6.6 +/- 0.2, M = 5.5 +/- 0.07, and N = 1.8 +/- 0.15.
The continuum between 8 and 13 microns falls off more steeply than
a Planck function.  The spectrum displayed two prominent emission
features, one at 3.4 microns (about 0.25 micron wide) and the other
at 11.3 microns (about 0.4 micron wide).  There was also evidence
for an unresolved emission line at 8.8 microns.  If the 3.4- and
11.3-micron emissions are due to those that cause unidentified
infrared features, the 8.6-micron feature is noticeably absent."

1995 January 16                (6126)            Daniel W. E. Green

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