EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 401, Number 1, April I 2003
Page(s) 297 - 311
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030109

A&A 401, 297-311 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030109

The active quiescence of HR Del (Nova Del 1967)

The ex-nova HR Del
P. Selvelli1 and M. Friedjung2

1  CNR-IASF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Via Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy
2  Institut d'Astrophysique, 98 boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
    e-mail: fried@iap.fr

(Received 31 October 2002 / Accepted 17 January 2003 )

This new UV study of the ex-nova HR Del is based on all of the data obtained with the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite, and includes the important series of spectra taken in 1988 and 1992 that have not been analyzed so far. This has allowed us to make a detailed study of both the long-timescale and the short-timescale UV variations, after the return of the nova, around 1981-1982, to the pre-outburst optical magnitude. After the correction for the reddening ( EB-V=0.16), adopting a distance d =850 pc we have derived a mean UV luminosity close to $L_{\rm UV} \sim 56~L_{\odot}$, the highest value among classical novae in "quiescence". Also the "average" optical absolute magnitude ( Mv=+2.30) is indicative of a bright object. The UV continuum luminosity, the HeII 1640 Å emission line luminosity, and the optical absolute magnitude all give a mass accretion rate  $\dot{M}$ very close to $1.4\times 10^{-7}~M_{\odot}$ yr -1, if one assumes that the luminosity of the old nova is due to a non-irradiated accretion disk. The UV continuum has declined by a factor less than 1.2 over the 13 years of the IUE observations, while the UV emission lines have faded by larger factors. The continuum distribution is well fitted with either a black body of 33 900 K, or a power-law $F_{\lambda} \sim \lambda^{-2.20}$. A comparison with the grid of models of Wade & Hubeny ([CITE]) indicates a low  M1 value and a relatively high  $\dot{M}$ but the best fittings to the continuum and the line spectrum come from different models. We show that the "quiescent" optical magnitude at  $m_{v} \sim12$ comes from the hot component and not from the companion star. Since most IUE observations correspond to the "quiescent" magnitude at $m_{v} \sim12$, the same as in the pre-eruption stage, we infer that the pre-nova, for at least 70 years prior to eruption, was also very bright at near the same  $L_{\rm UV}$, Mv, $\dot{M}$, and T values as derived in the present study for the ex-nova. The wind components in the P Cyg profiles of the CIV 1550 Å and NV 1240 Å resonance lines are strong and variable on short timescales, with $v_{\rm edge}$ up to  -5000 km s -1, a remarkably high value. The phenomenology of the short-time variations of the wind indicates the presence of an inhomogeneous outflow. We discuss the nature of the strong UV continuum and wind features and the implications of the presence of a "bright" state a long time before and after outburst on our present knowledge of the pre-nova and post-nova behavior.

Key words: stars: novae, cataclysmic variables -- ultraviolet -- stars: winds, outflows

Offprint request: P. Selvelli, selvelli@ts.astro.it

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2003