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Discovery and Classification of Optical Transient in M81 : P60-M81-081203

ATEL # 1880; M. M. Kasliwal, S. B. Cenko, R. Quimby, A. Rau, E. O. Ofek, S. R. Kulkarni (Caltech)
on 24 Dec 2008; 4:11 UT
Password Certification: Mansi Manoj Kasliwal (mansi@astro.caltech.edu)

Subjects: Optical, Cataclysmic Variables, Nova, Transients

On UT 2008 Dec 3.303, P60-FasTING (Palomar 60-inch Fast Transients In Nearby Galaxies) discovered an optical transient in M81 at RA(J2000) = 09:55:16.920, DEC(J2000)=+69:02:17.68, offset from the nucleus by 87.2"W, 97.4"S. P60-M81-081203 had a brightness of g = 20.5 +/- 0.1 at discovery. It was not detected by P60 to g > 22.3 on Nov 30.410. There is no counterpart in SDSS or SIMBAD. Follow-up spectroscopy with the Double Beam Spectrograph on the Palomar Hale telescope showed a featureless spectrum on Dec 4 UT and Dec 5 UT. Follow-up with the Gemini North telescope on Dec 16 UT revealed prominent H-alpha and other emission features (e.g., Fe II, O I) resembling an Fe class classical nova. We thank Gemini for approving this Director's Discretionary Time request and promptly queue scheduling this observation.

Light Curve Summary:

   Date (UT 2008)| Mag (g-band) |    
Nov 30.410 | > 22.3 |
Dec 2.287 | 21.7 |
Dec 3.303 | 20.5 |
Dec 6.301 | 20.2 |
Dec 10.280 | 21.2 |


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