X-RAY GRATING OBSERVATIONS OF RECURRENT NOVA T PYXIDIS DURING THE 2011 OUTBURST

The recurrent nova T Pyx was observed with the X-ray gratings of Chandra and XMM-Newton, 210 and 235 days, respectively, after the discovery of the 2011 April 14 outburst. The X-ray spectra show prominent emission lines of C, N, and O, with broadening corresponding to an FWHM of ~2000-3000 km s[Superscript: –1], and line ratios consistent with high-density plasma in collisional ionization equilibrium. On day 210 we also measured soft X-ray continuum emission that appears to be consistent with a white dwarf (WD) atmosphere at a temperature ~420,000 K, partially obscured by anisotropic, optically thick ejecta. The X-ray continuum emission is modulated with the photometric and spectroscopic period observed in quiescence. The continuum at day 235 indicated a WD atmosphere at a consistent effective temperature of 25 days earlier, but with a lower flux. The effective temperature indicates a mass of ~1 M [Subscript: ☉]. The conclusion of partial WD obscuration is supported by the complex geometry of non-spherically symmetric ejecta confirmed in recent optical spectra obtained with the Southern African Large Telescope in November and December of 2012. These spectra exhibited prominent [O III] nebular lines with velocity structures typical of bipolar ejecta.