From multi-epoch adaptive optics imaging and integral field unit spectroscopy, we report the discovery of an expanding and narrowly confined bipolar shell surrounding the helium nova V445 Puppis (Nova Puppis 2000). An equatorial dust disc obscures the nova remnant, and the outflow is characterized by a large polar outflow velocity of 6720±650 km s-1 and knots moving at even larger velocities of 8450±570 km s-1. We derive an expansion parallax distance of 8.2±0.5 kpc and deduce a pre-outburst luminosity of the underlying binary of log L/L ⊙ = 4.34±0.36. The derived luminosity suggests that V445 Puppis probably contains a massive white dwarf accreting at high rate from a helium star companion making it part of a population of binary stars that potentially lead to supernova Ia explosions due to accumulation of helium-rich material on the surface of a massive white dwarf.
- Instrumentation: Adaptive optics
- Novae, cataclysmic variables
- Stars: Individual (V445 Puppis