New data on material mixing in classical new systems

(ORDO NEWS) — In a new study, a team led by Yunlang Guo of the Yunnan Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences examined the degree of mixing of white dwarf material with material from a companion star in systems known as classical novae.

Classical novae occur when a critical mass of material accumulates on the surface of an accreting white dwarf in a close binary system and an uncontrolled thermonuclear explosion occurs.

During these nova outbursts, a sharp increase in the luminosity of the system occurs and most of the accreted shell is ejected into space.

Observations have shown that material ejections from the novae are enriched in medium mass elements such as C, N, O, Ne, Na, Mg, and Al. This indicates that the accreted layer is mixed with the outer layers of white dwarf material.

In their new study, Guo and his team systematically correlated the degree of mixing of white dwarf material with that of a companion star and the composition of erupted material in classical nova systems.

As a result of the numerical simulation, it was possible to establish a characteristic distribution of elements in the erupted material, corresponding to a certain proportion of mixing of the material.

“The ratios between the elements used to estimate the degree of mixing should be strongly influenced by the degree of mixing itself and should be almost unaffected by the mass of the white dwarf,” Guo explained.

As a result of the work carried out, the researchers were able to select four such relationships between elements that can be used to assess the degree of mixing of material in systems of classical novae.

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