Far-ultraviolet spectroscopy of the nova-like variable kq monocerotis: A new SW sextantis star?

Aaron Wolfe, Edward M. Sion, Howard E. Bond

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3 Scopus citations


New optical spectra obtained with the SMARTS 1.5 m telescope and archival International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectra of the nova-like variable KQ Mon are discussed. The optical spectra reveal Balmer lines in absorption as well as He I absorption superposed on a blue continuum. The 2011 optical spectrum is similar to the KPNO 2.1 m IIDS spectrum we obtained 33 years earlier except that the Balmer and He I absorption is stronger in 2011. Far-ultraviolet IUE spectra reveal deep absorption lines due to C II, Si III, Si IV, C IV, and He II, but no P Cygni profiles indicative of wind outflow. We present the results of the first synthetic spectral analysis of the IUE archival spectra of KQ Mon with realistic optically thick, steady-state, viscous accretion-disk models with vertical structure and high-gravity photosphere models. We find that the photosphere of the white dwarf (WD) contributes very little FUV flux to the spectrum and is overwhelmed by the accretion light of a steady disk. Disk models corresponding to a WD mass of ∼0.6 M⊙, with an accretion rate of order 10-9 M⊙ yr-1 and disk inclinations between 60° and 75°, yield distances from the normalization in the range of 144-165 pc. KQ Mon is discussed with respect to other nova-like variables. Its spectroscopic similarity to the FUV spectra of three definite SW Sex stars suggests that it is likely a member of the SW Sex class and lends support to the possibility that the WD is magnetic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number168
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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