Dust, Abundances, and the Evolution of Novae

Project: Research project

Description

Evolved stars are the engines of energy production and chemical evolution in our Universe. They deposit radiative and mechanical energy into their environments. They enrich the ambient ISM with elements synthesized in their interiors and dust grains condensed in their atmospheres. Classical novae (CNe) contribute to this cycle of chemical enrichment through explosive nuc1eosynthesis and the violent ejection of material dredged from the white dwarf progenitor and mixed with the accreted surface layers. Our capstone study of 10 CNe will provide an ensemble of objects, well-populated in CNe parameter space (fast, slow, 'coronal', dusty) for detailed photoionization modeling and analysis. CNe are laboratories in which several poorly-understood astrophysical processes (e.g., mass transfer, thermonuclear runaway, optically thick winds, common envelope evolution, molecule and grain formation, coronal emission) may be observed. With Spitzer's unique wavelength coverage and point-source sensitivity we can: (i) investigate the in situ formation, astromineralogy, and processing of nova dust, (ii) determine the ejecta elemental abundances resulting from thermonuclear runaway, (iii) constrain the correlation of ejecta mass with progenitor type, (iv) measure the bolometric luminosity of the outburst, and (v) characterize the kinematics and structure of the ejected envelopes. Extensive ground-based and space-based (Chandra, Swift, XMM-Newton) programs led by team Cols will complement Spitzer CNe observations.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/14/089/30/11

Funding

  • National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA): $20,000.00

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novae
dust
ejecta
dredged materials
envelopes
grain formation
chemical evolution
XMM-Newton telescope
ejection
complement
newton
point sources
mass transfer
engines
photoionization
surface layers
astrophysics
kinematics
universe
deposits