NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0261

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0261


PI: Michael Shara, American Museum of Natural History, mshara@amnh.org
Address: Astrophysics, CPW & 79th street, New York, NY 10024, USA

CoI: David Zurek, American Museum of Natural History
CoI: Jackie Faherty, American Museum of Natural History

Title: Old Nova Shells around Z Cam Dwarf Novae: A Prediction of the Hibernation Scenario

Abstract: Cataclysmic variables (classical novae and dwarf novae) are binary star systems in which a red dwarf transfers hydrogen-rich matter, via an accretion disk, to its white dwarf companion. In dwarf novae, an instability is believed to episodically dump much of the accretion disk onto the white dwarf, brightening these systems up to a hundred-fold. Thermonuclear-powered eruptions a thousand times more luminous occur in classical novae, accompanied by significant mass ejection and formation of clearly visible shells. The white dwarfs in all dwarf novae must eventually accrete enough mass to undergo classical nova eruptions, but until our discoveries of the huge shells around Z Cam and At Cnc, not a single dwarf nova had ever been shown to have undergone a classical nova eruption. We propose second epoch, deep H(alpha) imagery to measure the expansions (and approximate ages) of these two fossil novae; and to measure the expansion (or not) of a unique jet we have detected emanating from GK Per (nova 1901). We also propose spectroscopy to characterize the GK Per jet and AT Cnc shell.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0261

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