Classical novae are thermonuclear explosions in binary stellar systems containing a white dwarf accreting material from a close companion star. They repeatedly eject 10-4-10-5 solar masses of nucleosynthetically enriched gas into the interstellar medium, recurring on intervals of decades to tens of millennia. They are probably the main sources of Galactic 15N, 17O and 13C. The origin of the large enhancements and inhomogeneous distribution of these species observed in high-resolution spectra of ejected nova shells has, however, remained unexplained for almost half a century. Several mechanisms, including mixing by diffusion, shear or resonant gravity waves, have been proposed in the framework of one-dimensional or two-dimensional simulations, but none has hitherto proven successful because convective mixing can only be modelled accurately in three dimensions. Here we report the results of a three-dimensional nuclear-hydrodynamic simulation of mixing at the core-envelope interface during nova outbursts. We show that buoyant fingering drives vortices from the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, which inevitably enriches the accreted envelope with material from the outer white-dwarf core. Such mixing also naturally produces large-scale chemical inhomogeneities. Both the metallicity enhancement and the intrinsic dispersions in the abundances are consistent with the observed values.
|Autori:||Casanova Jordi; José Jordi; García-Berro Enrique; Shore S.N.; Calder Alan C|
|Titolo:||Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities as the source of inhomogeneous mixing in nova explosions|
|Anno del prodotto:||2011|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1038/nature10520|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|