AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 86. Supernovae and Cataclysmic Variables
Display, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 9:20am-4:00pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[86.03] The Nature of the Secondary Stars in Cataclysmic Variables

M. Politano (Ariz. St. U.), C.S. Law, S.B. Howell (U. Wyom.)

The nature of the secondary stars in cataclysmic variables (CVs) has been discussed recently by several authors (e.g., Smith & Dhillon, 1998, MNRAS, 301, 767; Beuermann et al. 1998, A&A, 339, 518). In particular, Beuermann et al. compare theoretical predictions of the spectral types of secondary stars based on detailed evolutionary sequences with an observed sample of CVs containing well-determined spectral types. For orbital periods greater than 3 hours, they find that evolutionary sequences containing secondaries which have undergone significant nuclear processing of core material (> 50%) are in better agreement with spectral types in a sizable fraction of the observed sample than those sequences containing unevolved secondaries. In this paper, we perform population synthesis calculations using the standard model of the formation of CVs and examine what percentage of the secondaries in CVs could have undergone significant nuclear processing of core material prior to contact. This work is supported in part by NASA grant NAG 5-3892 to Arizona State University.

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