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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[19.13] Cataclysmic Variables and Active Binary Stars in Omega Centauri

T. Arias, M. Brochmann, J. L. Dorfman, M. V. White, A. M. Cool (San Francisco State University)

We report findings from our ongoing research on the globular cluster Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) using a 3x3 mosaic of Wide Field Camera pointings with the HST Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The data consist of F435W (B435), F625W (R625), and F658N (H\alpha) images and cover roughly 10x10 arcminutes, out to beyond the cluster's half-mass radius. Our current work is a search for cataclysmic variables (CVs) and active binaries (ABs) (e.g., RS CVn and BY Dra stars) as counterparts to X-ray point sources previously detected with Chandra. The ACS field encompasses 109 of the Chandra sources, 20-50 of which are likely to be cluster members according to our statistical estimates (the rest being primarily active galaxies). Using DAOPHOT to obtain photometry in 20x20 arcsecond patches surrounding each X-ray source, we are constructing color-magnitude diagrams to search for stars with H\alpha-R625 and/or B435-R625 colors indicative of CVs or ABs in ~ 1 arcsecond Chandra error circles. With roughly half of the patches analyzed, several AB candidates and only a small number of CV candidates have emerged. Our tentative conclusion is that CVs may be significantly rarer in Omega Cen than in 47 Tuc, in contrast to the comparable numbers (~100) predicted for these two clusters from tidal capture theory (Di Stefano and Rappaport 1994). Alternatively, the CVs could be strongly concentrated toward the cluster center, and thus not yet appear in our sample. To date, most of the patches we have analyzed are 3-4 arcminutes from the cluster center and thus are outside the cluster core (radius 2.6 arcminutes). Our continuing work should soon enable us to resolve this question. This work is supported by NASA grant GO-9442 from the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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