The helium abundance in the ejecta of U Scorpii

M. P. Maxwell, M. T. Rushton, M. J. Darnley, H. L. Worters, M. F. Bode, S. P. S. Eyres, M. B. N. Kouwenhoven, F. M. Walter, B. J. M. Hassall, A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


U Scorpii (U Sco) is a recurrent nova which has been observed in outburst on 10 occasions, most recently in 2010. We present near-infrared (near-IR) and optical spectroscopy of the 2010 outburst of U Sco. The reddening of U Sco is found to be E(B − V) = 0.14 ± 0.12, consistent with previous determinations, from simultaneous optical and near-IR observations. The spectra show the evolution of the linewidths and profiles to be consistent with previous outbursts. Velocities are found to be up to 14 000 km s−1 in broad components and up to 1800 km s−1 in narrow-line components, which become visible around day 8 due to changes in the optical depth. From the spectra we derive a helium abundance of N(He)/N(H) = 0.073 ± 0.031 from the most reliable lines available; this is lower than most other estimates and indicates that the secondary is not helium-rich, as previous studies have suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1471
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2012


  • stars: individual: U Sco
  • novae, cataclysmic variables
  • infrared: stars


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