Gamma rays and X-rays from classical novae

James W. Truran, Sumner Starrfield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


The thermonuclear runaways occurring in accreted hydrogen shells on white dwarfs in close binary systems, that define the outbursts of the classical novae, provide an environment in which explosive hydrogen burning can produce significant concentrations of the interesting longer lived radioactive isotopes 7 Be (τ 1/2 =53.28 days), 22 Na,( τ 1/2 =2.605 years), and 26 Al (τ 1/2 =7.2×10 5 years), as well as of the short-lived positron-unstable isotopes 13 N, 14 O, 15 O, 17 F, and 18 F. It follows that nearby novae may produce flux levels of gamma rays, during several phases of their evolution, that are detectible with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. We briefly review the theoretical and observational picture with regard to the identified potential sources of gamma rays from novae. In particular, we reexamine the current situation regarding the production of 7 Be, 22 Na, and 26 Al in nova outbursts, and provide updated estimates of the expected fluxes of 7 Be and 22 Na gamma rays from individual nova events. Expectations for X-rays from novae are also noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCompton Gamma-Ray Observatory
EditorsNeil Gehrels, Michael W. Friedlander, Daryl J. Macomb
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)1563961040
StatePublished - 1993
EventCompton Symposium - St. Louis, United States
Duration: Oct 15 1992Oct 17 1992

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


ConferenceCompton Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySt. Louis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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