An improved model for the spectra of discs of nova-like variables

Ivan Hubeny, Knox S. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The spectra arising from the discs of nova-like variables show many of the features seen in stellar atmospheres. They are typically modelled either from an appropriated weighted set of stellar atmospheres or a disc atmosphere with energy is dissipated near the disc plane, with the effective temperature distribution expected from a steady-state accretion disc. However, these models generally overpredict the depth of the Balmer jump and the slope of the spectrum in the ultraviolet. The problem is likely due to energy dissipation in the disc atmosphere, which produces a flatter vertical temperature profile than is observed in stars. Here, we provide validation for this hypothesis in the form of spectra generated using the stellar atmosphere code tlusty using a parametric prescription for energy dissipation as a function of depth and closely match the spectrum of the nova-like IX Vel over the wavelength range 1150-6000 A.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5534-5544
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • accretion, accretion discs
  • methods: numerical
  • stars: novae, cataclysmic variables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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