V445 Puppis: Dustier than a Thousand Novae

D. P.K. Banerjee, A. Evans, C. E. Woodward, S. Starrfield, K. Y.L. Su, N. M. Ashok, R. M. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


V445 Puppis, the only known Galactic helium nova, is a unique test bed to verify supernova (SN) theories in the single-degenerate channel that involve a white dwarf (WD) accreting matter from a helium-rich donor. An estimate of the mass of the helium shell on the WD is crucial to deciding whether or not it will undergo an SN detonation. In this context, this study estimates the dust and ejecta masses in the 2000 November eruption of V445 Pup. Subsequent to its outburst, the star became cocooned in a dust envelope. An analysis of the spectral energy distribution (SED) of the dust using infrared data shows that V445 Pup produced at least 10−3 M of dust, which is unprecedented for a classical or recurrent nova. The SED can be explained by a combination of a cold dust component at 105 ± 10 K, mass (1.9 ± 0.8) × 10−3 M, and a warm dust component at 255 ± 10 K, mass (2.2 ± 1.2) × 10−5 M. For a conservative choice of the gas-to-dust mass ratio in the range 10–100, the mass of the ejecta is 0.01–0.1 M. Such a high mass range raises the question: why did V445 Pup not detonate as a Type Ia SN as is predicted in certain double-detonation sub-Chandrasekhar supernovae formalisms? We reexamine the nature of V445 Pup and discuss its role as a potential SN progenitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberacdf56
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • Chemical abundances (224)
  • Dust shells (414)
  • Explosive nucleosynthesis (503)
  • Type Ia supernovae (1728)
  • Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Classical novae (251)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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