Getting to Know the Cataclysmic Variable Beneath the Nova Eruption

The eruption of a (classical) nova is widely accepted to be a recurrent
event in the lifetime of a cataclysmic binary star. In-between eruptions
the system should therefore behave as a ``normal’’ cataclysmic variable
(CV), i.e. according to its characteristic properties like the
mass-transfer rate or the strength of the magnetic field of the white
dwarf. How important are these characteristics for the nova eruption
itself, i.e. which type of systems preferably undergo a nova eruption?
This question could in principle be addressed by comparing the post-nova
systems with the general CV population. However, information on
post-novae is scarce, even to the extent that the identification of the
post-nova is ambiguous in most cases. In this paper we inform on the
progress of a project that has been undertaken to significantly improve
the number of confirmed post-novae, thus ultimately providing the means
for a better understanding of these objects.