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Tim Naylor

The evolution of classical novae

(With Mark Somers, Koji Mukai and Fred Ringwald.) When a white dwarf accretes hydrogen from another star, the material can build up as a degenerate layer. The degeneracy means that when nuclear fusion begins, the result is a thermonuclear runaway. Observationally this is a classical nova explosion. When I became interested in the field the standard model was that such a nova explosion had profound effects on the binary, forcing mass transfer to stop and the system to ``hibernate''. In a then heretical paper (Naylor et al 1992) I pointed out how weak the evidence for this was, and then went on to make the case that the effect of the nova explosion on the binary appeared to be small (Somers, Mukai & Naylor, 1996; Somers, Ringwald & Naylor, 1997; Ringwald, Naylor & Mukai, 1996; Somers & Naylor 1999). In fact, the debate remains alive as to which scenario is correct.

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