Mass Estimates of the Fast Novae QZ Aur and Her 1991

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Session 29 -- Novae and Supernovae
Display presentation, Tuesday, 9:30-6:30, Pauley Room

[29.05] Mass Estimates of the Fast Novae QZ Aur and Her 1991

D. Ingram, P. Szkody (University of Washington)

Theoretical models of nova outbursts predict that the most massive white dwarfs will be associated with the fastest and most luminous novae. The distribution of observed nova outbursts is expected to be weighted toward nova with $M > 1.3 M_{\odot}$. However, of the known novae, very few mass estimates are available.

We conducted observations of the fast novae QZ Aurigae (Nova Aur 1964) and Her 1991 with the 4m telescope at KPNO and the 1.8m telescope at Apache Point Observatory. We have obtained $H\alpha$ radial velocity curves which yield mass estimates for the stellar components.

Our results indicate that both systems have massive white dwarfs although the masses are not as high as theoretical models predict. We deduce that the accretion disk is the dominant source of light in both systems, effectively preventing us from detecting the secondary even though the novae have long periods (7.14 hr and 8.58 hr).

This work was partially supported by NASA grant NAGW-3158.

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