2020 events

Sat 14:30-15:00
Starlight Room

Search for Deep Low Mass Ratio Contact Binary Stars (Red Nova Candidates)

Surjit (Serge) Wadhwa


The merger of contact binary stars is a rare event. The result however can be dramatic resulting in a nova like explosion that remains quite bright in the red and infra-red end of the spectrum but declines rapidly at visual wavelengths. The last confirmed event was in 2008 (Nova Sco. 2008 = V1306 Sco.). Much theoretical work has suggested that contact binary stars with low mass ratio (q<0.2), high degree of contact (f>50%) and decreasing period are the best candidates. Finding such objects however is quite difficult. In this paper I will discuss a current project that goes some way to identifying possible candidates and how amateurs may well critical in future observations. The project was deemed of sufficient quality that it was accepted as a "non supervised" Master of Philosophy submission.