Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Physics

Committee Member

Dr. Dieter H. Hartmann

Committee Member

Dr. Mark Leising

Committee Member

Dr. Jeremy King

Abstract

Although many efforts have been made to correctly predict the total galactic nova rate, in- consistencies in the literature of the last two decades have shown that this issue remains largely unresolved. Since 1993, predicted global rates have varied from 20 per year [Della Valle and Duerbeck, 1993], and 41 20 per year [Hatano et al., 1997], to 30 10 per year [Shafter, 2002]. Comparisons with observed quantities at around 5-10 per year within the past 50years show evidence that one of the largest physical inhibitors of nova observability within the Milky Way is extinction. Here, a dust extinction calculator was developed based on an axisymmetric double exponential dust distribution. The objective of this project was to develop a nova distribution model that would ultimately reproduce the observed nova rate when extinction is accounted for. The resulting product of these models showed that, with a simple double exponential distribution of novae, for which only 16 novae are ultimately observable in any given year and 10 observed, the number of novae erupting within the galaxy must be approximately 48 per year. This information is then compared with the CBAT list of data from all novae that have been recorded since 1612. The concluding remarks of this work are such that, although this model is rudimentary, adding the effects of a galactic bulge and spiral arms into the dust and novae distribution would improve upon it and serve as a good starting point for research regarding the relationship between galactic structure and observations of novae and other phenomena.

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