AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 7 Cataclysmic Variables
Poster, Monday, May 26, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[7.03] Secondary Stars in CVs: Ain't Nothin' Normal About 'em

S. B. Howell (University of California), T. E. Harrison, H. L. Osborne (New Mexico State University)

We have obtained R~2000 IR spectra of more than ten secondary stars in cataclysmic variables. Our systems consist of both magnetic and non-magnetic sub-types and cover a large range of orbital period. While the accretion flux in some short period systems provides excess contamination, our use of high spectral resolution and high S/N observations allows us to reveal the details of the majority of the mass donors. Essentially none of them appear to be normal main sequence stars in terms of their apparent abundances and thus rule out the normal use of "spectral type" as an indicator of their properties such as mass and radius. The observed abundance patterns are consistent with CNO processed material. We will discuss each star separately, form conclusions, and speculate on the cause of such anomalies. This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.