University of Hertfordshire

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From the same journal

By the same authors

The Emergence of the Infrared transient VVV-WIT-06

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  • sn2_v12

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.08 MB, PDF document

  • Dante Minniti
  • Roberto K. Saito
  • F. Forster
  • G. Pignata
  • Valentin D. Ivanov
  • J.C. Beamin
  • Jura Borissova
  • Marcio Catelan
  • Oscar A. Gonzalez
  • Maren Hempel
  • E Hsiao
  • Radostin Kurtev
  • Daniel Majaess
  • N. Masetti
  • N.I. Morrell
  • M.M. Phillips
  • J. B. Pullen
  • M. Rejkuba
  • L.C. Smith
  • F. Surot
  • Elena Valenti
  • Manuela Zoccali
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Original languageEnglish
Article numberL23
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2017


We report the discovery of an enigmatic large-amplitude (ΔKs> 10.5 mag) transient event in near-IR data obtained by the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) ESO Public Survey. The object (designated VVV-WIT-06) is located at R.A. = 17:07:18.917, decl. = -39:06:26.45 (J2000), corresponding to Galactic coordinates l = 347.14539, b = 0.88522. It exhibits a clear eruption, peaking at Ks = 9 mag during 2013 July and fading to Ks ~ 16.5 in 2017. Our late near-IR spectra show post-outburst emission lines, including some broad emission lines (upward of {FWHM} ~ 3000 k/s). We estimate a total extinction of A_V=10--15 mag in the surrounding field, and no progenitor was observed in ZYJHKs images obtained during 2010-2012 (down to Ks> 18.5 mag). Subsequent deep near-IR imaging and spectroscopy, in concert with the available multiband photometry, indicate that VVV-WIT-06 may be either: (I) the closest Type I SN observed in about 400 years, (II) an exotic high-amplitude nova that would extend the known realm of such objects, or (III) a stellar merger. In all of these cases, VVV-WIT-06 is a fascinating and curious astrophysical target under any of the scenarios considered.

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