The physics of early nova spectra

Peter H. Hauschildt, Sumner Starrfield, Steven N. Shore, France Allard, E. Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We discuss the physical effects that are important for the formation of the early spectra of novae. Nova atmospheres are optically thick, fast expanding shells with flat density profiles, leading to geometrically very extended atmospheres. We show that the properties of early nova spectra can be understood in terms of this basic model and discuss some important effects that influence the structure and the emitted spectrum of nova atmospheres, e.g., line blanketing, non-LTE effects, and the velocity field. The proper modeling of nova atmospheres is discussed, and we give some computational details.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-847
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 1995


  • Novae, cataclysmic variables
  • Radiative transfer
  • Stars: atmospheres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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