IRTF Data Archive Program Information

# # Program information file # PROGRAM_ID 2021B094 PROGRAM_TITLE Uncovering the most luminous Galactic explosions with rapid SpeX spectroscopy PROGRAM_INV1 Kishalay De PROGRAM_INV2 Roberto Soria PROGRAM_INV3 Mansi Kasliwal PROGRAM_INV4 Viraj Karambelkar PROGRAM_INV5 Jennifer Sokoloski PROGRAM_SCICAT stellar PROGRAM_ABSTRACT_BEG Classical nova explosions arise from a thermonuclear runaway on the surface of a white dwarf accreting material from a binary companion. Recent multi-wavelength observations of novae have provided unique insights into powerful shocks that likely produce most of the optical emission -- which have important consequences for the long term evolution of cataclysmic variables and the energy sources of the most luminous extragalactic supernovae. However, several discrepancies remain that can be uniquely addressed with high cadence photometric and spectroscopic observations of the early nova eruption. While bright optical novae amenable to detailed characterization are rare, recent infrared wide-field time domain surveys have uncovered a population of highly obscured novae that are easily characterized with infrared spectroscopy. With the substantially increased bounty of these unique explosions, we propose to use SpeX on IRTF to carry out Target of Opportunity early-time follow-up of very young novae discovered in 2021B. We particularly highlight synergies with the NASA TESS mission, that will be observing the Northern Galactic plane in 2021B. Combining high quality IR spectroscopy from SpeX with exquisite photometry from TESS and ground-based follow-up, we aim to systematically study the diversity of early time outflows in novae as a function of the nova type. PROGRAM_ABSTRACT_END