Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades Gobierno de Canarias Universidad de La Laguna CSIC Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa

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The short orbital period binary star at the heart of the planetary nebula M 3-1

Author/s: D. Jones, H. M. J. Boffin, P. Sowicka, B, Miszalski, P. Rodríguez-Gil, M. Santander-García, R. L. M. Corradi

Reference: 2018 MNRAS 482 L75 | Link

An image obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope of the planetary nebula M3-1, the central star of which is actually a binary system with one of the shortest orbital periods known. Credit: David Jones / Daniel López – IAC
An image obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope of the planetary nebula M3-1, the central star of which is actually a binary system with one of the shortest orbital periods known. Credit: David Jones / Daniel López – IAC

We present the discovery of a 3h5m orbital-period binary star at the heart of the planetary nebula M 3-1 – the shortest period photometrically variable central star known and second only to V458 Vul, in general. Combined modelling of light and radial velocity curves reveals both components to be close to Roche lobe filling, strongly indicating that the central star will rapidly evolve to become a cataclysmic variable, perhaps experiencing a similar evolution to V458 Vul resulting in a nova eruption before the planetary nebula has fully dissipated. While the short orbital period and near Roche lobe filling natures of both components make the central binary of M 3-1 an important test case with which to constrain the formation processes of cataclysmic variables, novae, and perhaps even supernovae type Ia.

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