AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 19 Cataclysmic Variable Stars
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[19.15] Infrared Spectroscopy of the Subgiant Secondary Stars in SS Cygni, RU Pegasi, GK Persei, and AE Aquarii

T. E. Harrison, R. Campbell (NMSU), S. B. Howell (NOAO/WIYN), J. J. Johnson (NMSU)

The HST parallaxes for the cataclysmic variables (CVs) SS Cyg and RU Peg indicate that their secondary stars must be subgiants to produce their observed infrared luminosities. We present new moderate resolution 0.8 to 2.5 \mum spectroscopy obtained with SPEX on the IRTF to attempt to spectroscopically classify the secondary stars in these systems as subgiants. In addition, we present infrared spectroscopy of GK Per, an old nova that has a known subgiant secondary star, and the long period, peculiar CV system AE Aqr for comparison. The CO features in the secondary stars of both GK Per and AE Aqr are extremely weak, suggesting CNO processed atmospheres for both objects. By comparison of the spectra with known giant and subgiant templates, we conclude that some of the abundance anomalies previously reported for SS Cyg (e.g., an Mg deficiency) might actually be due to the subgiant nature of its secondary star.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.