Previous abstract Next abstract
We present the results of high time resolution spectroscopic observations of the flaring activity of the cataclysmic variable AE Aquarii. The spectroscopic observations were carried out with the HST 's Faint Object Spectrograph, and were complemented by simultaneous UBVR photometry obtained at McDonald Observatory. The spectra of flares consist of a plethora of emission lines and a strong Balmer continuum. Some of the emission lines come from highly ionized species (e.g. N~V, Si~IV, He~II), suggesting high temperatures or the presence of energetic photons, while some correspond to semi-forbidden transitions, indicating emission from a tenuous gas. We compare the observed spectra, and their temporal evolution, with the predictions of simple photoionization and LTE models, and we discuss their implications for scenarios of the flare mechanism. We also place the AE Aquarii flares in the context of other flare like phenomena in stellar systems, by comparing their properties with the properties of flares in LMXBs and stellar flares.
Thursday program listing