• stars: abundances;
  • stars: formation;
  • novae, cataclysmic variables;
  • stars: Population II;
  • ISM: general;
  • globular clusters: general


We explore the possible contribution of classical and recurrent novae from isolated white dwarfs accreting from the intracluster medium to the abundances of ‘second-generation’ globular cluster stellar populations. We show that under reasonable assumptions the helium abundances of clusters can be enhanced substantially by these novae and argue that novae should be considered as an important, and perhaps even dominant, channel in the evolution of the intracluster medium. We also discuss a possible test for whether helium enhancement really is the cause of the multiple main sequences in globular clusters that is independent of the positions of stars in the colour–magnitude diagram.