recurrent nova


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recurrent nova

(ri-ku -rĕnt, -ker -ĕnt) A cataclysmic variable that suffers a series of violent nova?-like outbursts at periodic intervals. The change in brightness is smaller and the decline in brightness more pronounced than with classical novae. Like other cataclysmic variables, a recurrent nova is a close binary system in which one member is a white dwarf; the other component is a red giant, and gas is being transferred from the latter to the former. The red giant loses matter about a thousand times faster than the companion in a nova system, so that the transferred hydrogen builds up on the surface of the white dwarf at a much quicker rate. The accumulated hydrogen is hence sufficient to erupt in a thermonuclear explosion after only a few decades, and astronomers have been able to see multiple outbursts within the past century or so of systematic investigation of variable stars. Between outbursts, the system's light comprises both emission from hot gas circling the white dwarf and light from the cool red giant; as a result the spectrum shows what is apparently a star with two different temperatures (as with a symbiotic star). T Pyxidis (1890, 1902, 1920, 1944, 1965), RS Ophiuchi (1901, 1933, 1958, 1967, 1985), T Coronae Borealis (1866, 1946), U Scorpii (1863, 1906, 1936, 1979, 1987), and V394 Coronae Australis (1949, 1987) are recurrent novae.

recurrent nova

[ri′kər·ənt ′nō·və]
(astronomy)
A binary star that undergoes outbursts every few decades in which the brightness increases roughly 100-1000 times, as the result of nuclear explosions in matter that has accreted on a white dwarf component star from a neighboring red giant component.
References in periodicals archive ?
The 1985 eruption of the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi was the first to be followed over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, affording the opportunity to investigate the complex interaction between the material rejected in the nova explosion and the red giant wind.
An impression of the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi, 5,000 light years from earth' Prof Mike Bode
One outburst in particular stands out--the January 28 outburst of the recurrent nova U Sco, detected by AAVSO observer Barbara Harris.
As an example of how SSON can be used to obtain an observation impossible to make from the UK, Nick James requested images of the recurrent nova T Pyxis to be taken at SSON during the Winchester meeting.
This is a recurrent nova, initially known as N Sgr 1919, that has also exhibited several dwarf nova outbursts approximately every 18 years.

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