High Resolution Optical Spectroscopy of the Classical Nova V5668 Sgr Showing the Presence of Lithium

The classical nova (CN) V5668 Sgr was discovered on 2015 March 15.634 and initial optical spectra implied it was an Fe II-class CN. We obtained high resolution optical spectroscopy on 30 nights between 2015 April 3 and 2016 June 5 with the 2 x 8.4 m Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and the 1.8 m Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) using the Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI). The spectra cover all or part of the 3830-9065 Å spectral region at a spectral resolution of up to 270,000 (1 km/s); the highest resolution currently available on any 8-10 m class telescope. The early spectra are dominated by emission lines of the Balmer and Paschen series of hydrogen, Fe II, Ca II, and Na I with P Cyg-type line profiles as well as emission lines of [O I]. Numerous interstellar lines and bands are readily apparent at high spectral resolution. The permitted line profiles show complex and dramatic variations in the multi-component P Cyg-type line profiles with time. We detect a weak blue-shifted absorption line at a velocity consistent with Li I 6708 Å when compared with the line profiles of Hβ, Fe II 5169 Å, and Na I D. This line is present in spectra obtained on 7 of 8 consecutive nights up to day 21 of the outburst; but absent on day 42 when it is evident that the ionization of the ejecta has significantly increased. The equivalent width of the line converted to a column density, and the resulting mass fraction, imply a significant enrichment of 7Li in the ejecta. 7Li is produced by the decay of unstable 7Be created during the thermonuclear runaway. The discovery of the resonance lines of 7Be II in the optical spectra of the recent CNe V339 Del, V2944 Oph, and V5668 Sgr by Tajitsu et al. (2016) and its subsequent decay to 7Li (half life of 53 days) suggests a significant enrichment of 7Li in the Galaxy from CNe is possible. Our observations of the Li I 6708 Å line in the early optical spectra of V5668 Sgr mark the second direct detection of Li in a CN following the detection of Li I in the early optical spectra of V1369 Cen by Izzo et al. (2015).

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Publication:  Wagner, R. Mark; Woodward, Charles E.; Starrfield, Sumner; Ilyin, Ilya; Strassmeier, Klaus
American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #231, id. 358.10