AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 107 Binary Stars Including Theory and Activity
Poster, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[107.11] Evidence for Superhumps in the Radio Light Curve of Algol and a New Model for Magnetic Activity in Algol Systems

M.T. Richards, A. Retter (Pennsylvania State University), K. Wu (Mullard Space Science Laboratory)

Extensive radio data of two Algol systems and two RS CVn binaries were re-analyzed. We found evidence for a new periodicity that we interpret as a superhump in Algol, in which it may have been expected according to its semi-detached nature and low binary mass ratio. This is the first detection of the superhump phenomenon in the radio and the first observation of superhumps in Algol systems. According to our result, the accretion disk in Algol precesses in spite of its non-Keplerian nature and therefore this phenomenon is not restricted to the classical Keplerian disks in compact binaries.We propose that in Algol systems with short orbital periods, the disk is magnetically active as well as the secondary star. The magnetic field in the disk originates from amplification of the seed field in the magnetized material transferred from the secondary. The disk and stellar fields interact with each other, with reconnection of the field lines causing flares and particle acceleration. Relativistic particles are trapped in the field and directed toward the polar regions of the secondary star because of the dipole structure of its magnetic field. Our proposed model for the magnetic activity in Algol systems provides a simple explanation to the observed properties of Algol in the radio wavelengths, and to the presence of quiescent gyrosynchrotron emission near the polar region of the secondary star, where electrons are difficult to be confined if the field lines are open as in normal single magnetic stars. We propose that the superhump variation in the radio is generated by enhanced reconnection when the elongated side of the elliptic disk is the closest to the cool star. This leads to flares and enhancement in particle acceleration and is manifested as stronger gyrosynchrotron radiation.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0410273. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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