The Mysterious Old Nova BT Monocerotis

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Session 46 -- Novae
Display presentation, Wednesday, 1, 1994, 9:20-6:30

[46.03] The Mysterious Old Nova BT Monocerotis

J. C. White II (Middle Tenn. State U.), E. M. Schlegel (GSFC-USRA), R. K. Honeycutt (Indiana U.)

We present spectrophotometric data for the old nova BT Monocerotis (Nova Monocerotis 1939) that demonstrate the existence of high-velocity gas in the system of a character unique among all other cataclysmic variables. Possibly characteristic of radial infall of gas onto the white dwarf, these gas motions are manifest as high-amplitude velocity spikes in BT Mon's radial velocity curves and are visible only during eclipse of the white dwarf. We also present Doppler tomographic images of BT Mon that show no evidence of an accretion disk in the system. Finally, while the lack of an accretion disk and the presence of the narrow, high-velocity gas motions suggest that BT Mon may be a previously unclassified AM Herculis system, our photometric data do not support this interpretation of the system. Because of its unique character, BT Mon may be, in fact, an evolutionary precursor to an AM Her system or simply yet another bizarre cataclysmic variable.

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