2022 events

Sat 16th 11:50-12:30

Search for Red Nova Progenitors

Surjit Wadhwa


Since the confirmation of V1309 Sco (Nova Sco 2008) as a merger event between components of a contact binary system, there has been significant interest in the detection of progenitor system before they merge. A number of observational and theoretical programmes are underway around the world to understand the pre-merger orbital dynamics as a method of identifying systems with features of orbital instability.

My current project, which started of as a Masters programme and has now expanded to a PhD, aims to unlock the theoretical orbital dynamics and link these to the light curve of contact binary systems. The aim is develop a method of identifying potentially unstable systems with small instruments, and simplifying the mathematics such that identification is within the reach of advanced amateurs.

So far the mathematics has been developed and simplified. The methodology has been applied to a number of systems. It has also raised some controversies, and these too will be discussed.