659 research outputs found

    Secondary stars in CVs - the observational picture

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    Recent theoretical and observational progress has substantially improved the definition of the lower main sequence and established a new basis for a comparison of main sequence stars and the secondaries in CVs. The evolutionary sequences of Kolb & Baraffe [1999] imply that the secondaries in many CVs are expanded compared with main sequence stars of the same mass as a consequence of unusually high mass transfer rates and/or pre-CV nuclear evolution. We show that the location of the secondaries of all well-studied CVs in the spectral type period diagram implies that they are consistent with having near-solar metallicities. We show, furthermore, that the surface brightness of K/M stars depends on gravity and metallicity and present new Barnes-Evans relations valid for dwarfs of near-solar metallicity and the secondaries in CVs of the galactic disk population. Distances derived by the surface brightness method agree with recent measurements of the trigonometric parallaxes of a few selected systems.Comment: 7 pages, 4 Figures, accepted for publication in New Astronomy Review

    The secondary star and distance of the polar V1309 Ori

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    The first phase-resolved JHK light curves of the eclipsing polar (AM Herculis binary) V1309 Ori are presented and interpreted. We separate the contributions from the secondary star and from other sources with the aim of determining a photometric distance. Simple model calculations show that the accretion stream and the cyclotron source on the accreting white dwarf are minor contributors to the infrared light, allowing an accurate determination of spectral type and absolute flux of the secondary star. The unilluminated backside of the secondary star as seen in eclipse has spectral type dM0 to dM0+. Its dereddened magnitude is K = 13.58 at orbital phase phi = 0 (eclipse). Using the calibrated surface brightness of M-stars and the published mass of the secondary, M2 = 0.46 Msun, we obtain a distance d = 600 +/- 25 pc which scales as M2^(1/2). The radius of the Roche-lobe filling secondary exceeds the main-sequence radius of an M0 star by 21 +11/-6 %. The debated origin of the infrared light of V1309 Ori has been settled in favor of the secondary star as the main contributor and an accurate distance has been derived that will place estimates of the luminosity and synchronization time scale on a more secure basis.Comment: 5 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysic

    The New Eclipsing Cataclysmic Variable SDSS 154453+2553

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    The cataclysmic variable SDSS154453+2553 was recently identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We obtained spectra and photometry at the MDM Observatory, which revealed an eclipse with a 6.03 hour period. The H{\alpha} emission line exhibits a strong rotational disturbance during eclipse, indicating that it arises in an accretion disk. A contribution from an M-type companion is also observed. Time-series photometry during eclipse gives an ephemeris of 2454878.0062(15) + 0.251282(2)E. We present spectroscopy through the orbit and eclipse photometry. Our analysis of the secondary star indicates a distance of 800 {\pm} 180 pc.Comment: 6 pages, 3 figures, Accepted for publication in PAS

    A new soft X-ray spectral model for polars with an application to AM Herculis

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    We present a simple heuristic model for the time-averaged soft X-ray temperature distribution in the accretion spot on the white dwarf in polars. The model is based on the analysis of the Chandra LETG spectrum of the prototype polar AM Her and involves an exponential distribution of the emitting area vs. blackbody temperature a(T) = a0 exp(-T/T0). With one free parameter besides the normalization, it is mathematically as simple as the single blackbody, but is physically more plausible and fits the soft X-ray and far-ultraviolet spectral fluxes much better. The model yields more reliable values of the wavelength-integrated flux of the soft X-ray component and the implied accretion rate than reported previously.Comment: 5 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysic

    Zeeman tomography of magnetic white dwarfs. IV, The complex field structure of the polars EF Eridani, BL Hydri and CP Tucanae

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    Context. The magnetic fields of the accreting white dwarfs in magnetic cataclysmic variables (mCVs) determine the accretion geometries, the emission properties, and the secular evolution of these objects. Aims. We determine the structure of the surface magnetic fields of the white dwarf primaries in magnetic CVs using Zeeman tomography. Methods. Our study is based on orbital-phase resolved optical flux and circular polarization spectra of the polars EF Eri, BL Hyi, and CP Tuc obtained with FORS1 at the ESO VLT. An evolutionary algorithm is used to synthesize best fits to these spectra from an extensive database of pre-computed Zeeman spectra. The general approach has been described in previous papers of this series. Results. The results achieved with simple geometries as centered or offset dipoles are not satisfactory. Significantly improved fits are obtained for multipole expansions that are truncated at degree lmax = 3 or 5 and include all tesseral and sectoral components with 0 ≤ m ≤ l. The most frequent field strengths of 13, 18, and 10MG for EF Eri, BL Hyi, and CP Tuc, and the ranges of field strength covered are similar for the dipole and multipole models, but only the latter provide access to accreting matter at the right locations on the white dwarf. The results suggest that the field geometries of the white dwarfs in short-period mCVs are quite complex, with strong contributions from multipoles higher than the dipole in spite of a typical age of the white dwarfs in CVs in excess of 1 Gyr. Conclusions. It is feasible to derive the surface field structure of an accreting white dwarf from phase-resolved low-state circular spectropolarimetry of sufficiently high signal-to-noise ratio. The fact that independent information is available on the strength and direction of the field in the accretion spot from high-state observations helps in unraveling the global field structure

    Spectroscopy of Four Cataclysmic Variables with Periods above 7 Hours

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    We present spectroscopy of four cataclysmic variables. Using radial velocity measurements, we find orbital periods for the first time. The stars and their periods are GY Hya, 0.347230(9) d; SDSS J204448-045929, 1.68(1) d; V392 Hya, 0.324952(5) d; and RX J1951.7+3716, 0.492(1) d. We also detect the spectra of the secondary stars, estimate their spectral types, and derive distances based on surface brightness and Roche lobe constraints.Comment: 22 pages, 3 figures, 5 tables, to be published in December 2006 PAS
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