The Photometric Evolution of the Classical Nova V723 Cassiopeia from 2006 through 2016


Student authors: Ryan Lane, Lindsey Ljungquist, Jacob Grant, Katherine Shrader, Derek Frymark, Eric Dornbush, Tyler Richey-Yowell

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The Astronomical Journal


We present photometric data of the classical nova, V723 Cas (Nova Cas 1995), over a span of 10 years (2006 through 2016) taken with the 0.9 m telescope at Lowell Observatory, operated as the National Undergraduate Research Observatory (NURO) on Anderson Mesa near Flagstaff, Arizona. A photometric analysis of the data produced light curves in the optical bands (Bessel B, V, and Rfilters). The data analyzed here reveal an asymmetric light curve (steep rise to maximum, followed by a slow decline to minimum), the overall structure of which exhibits pronounced evolution including a decrease in magnitude from year to year, at the rate of ~0.15 mag yr−1. We model these data with an irradiated secondary and an accretion disk with a hot spot using the eclipsing binary modeling program Nightfall. We find that we can model reasonably well each season of observation by changing very few parameters. The longitude of the hot spot on the disk and the brightness of the irradiated spot on the companion are largely responsible for the majority of the observed changes in the light curve shape and amplitude until 2009. After that, a decrease in the temperature of the white dwarf is required to model the observed light curves. This is supported by Swift/X-Ray Telescope observations, which indicate that nuclear fusion has ceased, and that V723 Cas is no longer detectable in the X-ray.


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