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PTF10fqs: A Luminous Red Nova in the spiral galaxy M99

ATEL # 2590; M. M. Kasliwal & S. R. Kulkarni (Caltech) report on behalf of the "Transients in the Local Universe" working group of the Palomar Transient Factory
on 30 Apr 2010; 1:19 UT
Distributed as an Instant Email Notice (Transients)
Password Certification: Mansi Manoj Kasliwal (

Subjects: Radio, Far-Infra-Red, Infra-Red, Optical, Ultra-Violet, X-ray, Nova, Supernova, Transients

On 2010 April 16.393 UT, the Palomar Transient Factory discovered an optical transient, PTF10fqs at RA(J2000) = 12:18:50.16 and DEC(J2000) = +14:26:39.2. This is offset from the nucleus of M99 by 8.1"E, 99.9"N. At the distance of M99, R=20.1 corresponds to an absolute magnitude of M_R = -11.0. There are no previous detections in imaging taken on and prior to April 10 UT.

We obtained Target Of Opportunity spectra with Gemini-S/GMOS on April 18.227. The spectrum shows a red continuum, exhibits intermediate width H-alpha, and is similar to the spectrum of the luminous red nova M85OT 2006-1 (Kulkarni et al. 2007, Nature, 447, 458).

We do not detect a progenitor in archival optical (Hubble Space Telescope), mid-infrared (Spitzer) and ultra-violet (GALEX) imaging. A multiwavelength follow-up campaign is underway.

We thank the Gemini staff for queue service observing.

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