Modelling the evolution of nova outbursts

D. Prialnik*, A. Kovetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The theory of classical nova outbursts is reviewed. It shows that the different nova characteristics can be reproduced by varying the values of three basic and independent parameters: the white dwarf mass MWD, the temperature of its isothermal core TWD and the mass transfer rate Ṁ. The parameter space is shown to be constrained by several analytical considerations. We present a grid of multicycle nova evolution models that spans the entire grid of parameter combinations for C-O white dwarfs. The full grid covers the entire range of observed nova characteristics, even those of peculiar objects, which have not been numerically reproduced until now. Most remarkably, runs for very low Ṁ lead to very high values for some characteristics, such as outburst amplitude A ≥ 20, high super-Eddington luminosities at maximum, heavy element abundance of the ejecta Zej ≈ 0.63 and high ejected masses mej ≈ 7 × 10-4 M . Some hitherto unpublished results of the long term evolution of a low mass accreting white dwarf are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINTERACTING BINARIES
Subtitle of host publicationAccretion, Evolution, and Outcomes
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 21 May 2005
EventINTERACTING BINARIES: Accretion, Evolution, and Outcomes - Cefalu, Sicily, Italy
Duration: 4 Jul 200410 Jul 2004

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


ConferenceINTERACTING BINARIES: Accretion, Evolution, and Outcomes
CityCefalu, Sicily


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Binaries: close
  • Novae, cataclysmic variables
  • White dwarfs


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