AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 110. Unraveling the Physics of Cataclysmic Variables and Accretion Disks
Invited, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 3:40-5:10pm, 6AB

[Previous] | [Session 110] | [Next]

[110.01] Cataclysmic Variables: New Insights from HST, FUSE, Chandra, SDSS

P. Szkody (U of Washington)

It has long been known that the repetitive outbursts and short orbital periods of cataclysmic variables (CVs) make them ideal laboratories for the study of the influence of magnetic fields and the effects of the accretion process resulting from the active mass transfer between the late type secondary and the white dwarf. But it is the recent access to good resolution and sensitivity in the ultraviolet and X-ray regions of the spectrum through space observations with HST, FUSE and Chandra that has enabled us to obtain the first quantitative measurements of the physical parameters of the underlying white dwarfs and accretion areas in a variety of systems. The resulting temperatures, rotation rates and compositions provide direct tests of accretion theory as well as insight into the long term evolution of close binary systems. The ground-based Sloan Digital Sky Survey is also providing constraints on evolution theory by enabling access to the faintest and oldest systems with the lowest mass transfer rates. It allows a determination of the true distribution of close binaries unfettered by the selection effects of previous surveys that favored high accretion rate, bright systems. The many CVs and pre-CVs available in the 2003 data release show a wide range of properties and provide a rich database for followup studies in the next few years.

This work was funded by NASA grants GO-0813-97A, GO0-1093X, NAG-512203 and NSF grant AST-0205876.

[Previous] | [Session 110] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.