Journal Article

The helium abundance in the ejecta of U Scorpii

M. P. Maxwell, M. T. Rushton, M. J. Darnley, H. L. Worters, M. F. Bode, A. Evans, S. P. S. Eyres, M. B. N. Kouwenhoven, F. M. Walter and B. J. M. Hassall

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 419, issue 2, pages 1465-1471
Published in print January 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19803.x
The helium abundance in the ejecta of U Scorpii

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U Scorpii (U Sco) is a recurrent nova which has been observed in outburst on 10 occasions, most recently in 2010. We present near-infrared (near-IR) and optical spectroscopy of the 2010 outburst of U Sco. The reddening of U Sco is found to be E(B − V) = 0.14 ± 0.12, consistent with previous determinations, from simultaneous optical and near-IR observations. The spectra show the evolution of the linewidths and profiles to be consistent with previous outbursts. Velocities are found to be up to 14 000 km s−1 in broad components and up to 1800 km s−1 in narrow-line components, which become visible around day 8 due to changes in the optical depth. From the spectra we derive a helium abundance of N(He)/N(H) = 0.073 ± 0.031 from the most reliable lines available; this is lower than most other estimates and indicates that the secondary is not helium-rich, as previous studies have suggested.

Keywords: stars: individual: U Sco; novae, cataclysmic variables; infrared: stars

Journal Article.  3413 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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