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Types of novae

Zwicky, F. (1940) Types of novae. Reviews of Modern Physics, 12 (1). pp. 66-85. ISSN 0034-6861. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.12.66.

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A general classification of novae in terms of integral parameters is proposed. It is shown in particular that the distribution of novae in dependence on the intrinsic luminosity at maximum brightness reveals the existence of two distinct classes, designated as common novae and supernovae. In Section (A) the usefulness of the study of temporary stars in comparison with the study of permanent stars is discussed. Sections (B) and (C) give a tentative classification of novae in terms of integral parameters as well as a brief tabulation of some of the observational data on these parameters. In the course of this discussion a number of interesting problems suggest themselves. Among them the problems of the primary and secondary images of novae and of supernovae and the investigation of the final states of temporary stars are of particular interest. In (D) some approximate relations among the integral parameters are described. In (E) the frequency of occurrence n(M) of novae in dependence on their absolute magnitude M is explicitly established and graphically represented. The fundamental significance of the fact is emphasized that the function n(M) has two pronounced maxima. In (F) the importance of the fact is analyzed that supernovae preferably appear in those parts of nebulae whose surface brightness is low. Two outstanding cases of supernovae which are located in points of excessively low surface brightness are reproduced in Fig. 3. In Section (G) it is shown that the average frequency of occurrence of supernovae in different types of nebulae does not depend essentially on the type. In Section (H) a number of reasons are advanced which appear to be sufficient to rule out the assumption of collisions between luminous stars as a cause for supernovae. Finally in Section (I) a review is given of the decisive observations and considerations which have resulted in the recognition of supernovae as a separate class of temporary stars.

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Additional Information:©1940 The American Physical Society. I am indebted to Dr. Walter S. Adams, Director of the Mt. Wilson Observatory for the permission to reproduce two of the photographs taken with the 100-inch telescope. I also wish to thank Mr. Edison Hoge of the Mt. Wilson Observatory for the enlargements of the photographs and their arrangement in the plate. This paper which was oroginally sent to the Physical Review has been transferred to the Reviews of Modern Physics at the suggestion of the editors.
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4785
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:07 Sep 2006
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 20:20

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