Internal shocks from variable outflows in classical novae

Elad Steinberg*, Brian D. Metzger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present one-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations including radiative losses, of internal shocks in the outflows from classical novae, to explore the role of shocks in powering multiwavelength emission from radio to gamma-ray wavelengths. Observations support a picture in which the initial phases of some novae generate a slow, equatorially focused outflow (directly from the outer Lagrange point, or from a circumbinary disc), which then transitions to, or is overtaken by, a faster more isotropic outflow from the white dwarf which collides and shocks the slower flow, powering gamma-ray and optical emission through reprocessing by the ejecta. However, the common occurrence of multiple peaks in nova light curves suggests that the outflow's acceleration need not be monotonic, but instead can involve successive transitions between 'fast' and 'slow' modes. Such a time-fluctuating outflow velocity naturally can reproduce several observed properties of nova, such as correlated gamma-ray and optical flares, expansion of the photosphere coincident with (though lagging slightly) the peak flare luminosity, and complex time evolution of spectral lines (including accelerating, decelerating, and merging velocity components). While the shocks are still deeply embedded during the gamma-ray emission, the onset of ~keV X-ray and ~10 GHz radio synchrotron emission is typically delayed until the forward shock of the outermost monolithic shell (created by merger of multiple internal shock-generated shells) reaches a sufficiently low column through the dense external medium generated by the earliest phase of the outburst.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4232-4246
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume491
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Elias Aydi, Laura Chomiuk, and Indrek Vurm for helpful information and discussions. This work is supported in part by NSF through grant #AST-1615084 and by NASA through the Fermi Guest Investigator Program (grant # 80NSSC18K1708). BDM received partial support from the Simons Foundation through the Simons Fellows Program (grant # 606260).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Acceleration of particles
  • Cataclysmic variables
  • Gammarays: stars
  • Novae
  • Shock waves

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Internal shocks from variable outflows in classical novae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this