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Astron. Astrophys. 345, 831-840 (1999)

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Three-dimensional simulations of classical novae

A. Kercek 1, W. Hillebrandt 1 and J.W. Truran 2

1 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 1, D-85740 Garching, Germany
2 Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research, Enrico Fermi Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Received 6 October 1998 / Accepted 8 January 1999


We present first results of three-dimensional (3D-) calculations of turbulent and degenerate hydrogen-burning on top of a C+O white dwarf of 1.0 [FORMULA]. The simulations are carried out by means of a code which solves Euler's equation for an arbitrary equation of state together with a nuclear reaction network and the energy input from nuclear reactions on a Cartesian grid covering a fraction of the white dwarf 's surface and accreted envelope. The flow patterns we obtain are very different from those of earlier 2D simulations using the same initial conditions and the same numerical resolution. The possibility of self-enrichment of the accreted hydrogen-rich envelope with carbon and oxygen from the surface layers of the white dwarf during the violent phase of the burning is investigated, and it is demonstrated that self-enrichment proceeds too slowly if the accreted gas has near-solar CNO-abundances at the onset of the thermonuclear runaway. As a result, we do not find a fast nova outburst. This conclusion remains valid if the initial metallicity of the accreted gas is raised by a factor of five. Therefore we conclude that fast nova outbursts indeed require huge enrichments of C and O, as postulated from spherically symmetric models, and that the mechanism which leads to such enhancements must operate prior to the outburst.

Key words: stars: novae, cataclysmic variables – stars: white dwarfs – convection – hydrodynamics – nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances

Send offprint requests to: Andreas Kercek (ask@mpa-garching.mpg.de)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: April 28, 1999