Multi-outburst nova modeling & where models meet observations

Yael Hillman*, Michael Shara, Dina Prialnik, Attay Kovetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Direct determination of WD masses in CVs is extremely difficult, which is the reason very few direct determinations exist. We present a method for calculating an estimate of WD masses in CVs and of the rate at which they accrete matter from their companion, by combining results of nova simulations with cataloged observations of 92 novae. We present observed distributions of the WD mass (MWD) and accretion rate (Ṁ), and corrections of these distributions while taking into account the observation frequency of each nova. We show that WDs in RN systems are typically more massive than WDs in CN systems and their Ṁ is higher. If the Ṁ is sufficiently high, the WD will eject only a fraction of the accreted mass, resulting in the secular growth of the WD mass. We have followed the evolution of WDs of various initial masses and accretion rates through long series of nova cycles, focusing on the WD mass change, considering both hydrogen and helium accretion and addressing the consequences of helium flashes. We show the circumstances under which WDs can grow up to the Chandrasekhar mass, to become progenitors of type Ia Supernovae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1079
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Cataclysmic variables
  • Helium flashes
  • Modeling
  • Novae
  • White dwarfs


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