THE EMISSION LINE SPECTRA OF CATACLYSMIC VARIABLE ACCRETION DISKS.
AuthorFERGUSON, DONALD HAROLD.
KeywordsCataclysmic variable stars.
Supernovae -- Spectra.
Stars -- Spectra.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAn explanation of the emission line behavior in cataclysmic variables has been among the most important and elusive problems in eruptive star research. This work expands accretion disk chromosphere models of line emission to predict line behavior qualitatively. A search for UX UMa-like thick disk cataclysmics in the Palomar Green survey sample gave space densities consistent only with luminous high accretion rate disks: Ṁ ≥ 10⁻⁷·⁰Mₒ/yr. Instead, 20 composites whose combined energy distributions were "flat", Fᵥ α ν⁰, were discovered. These typically were early K dwarfs paired with 30,000K subdwarf O stars. The study also showed that a substantial fraction of subdwarf O and B stars are binary. The detached eclipsing binary BE UMa showed a reflection effect emission line spectrum due to the close 7Rₒ separation between an EUV-emitting subdwarf O star and an M1-5 dwarf. Analysis gave the hot star physical parameters as: 80,000K ≤ T(p)(K) ≤ 100,000, 7.0 ≤ log g(p) ≤ 8.0, and log (He/H) = 1.0 ± 1.0. The BE UMa optical emission line spectrum was modeled using a quantitative photoionization-recombination stellar atmosphere-like code. A rich high excitation continuum fluorescence and recombinational spectrum including HeII λ4686 and CIII λ4650 was formed at lower optical depths corresponding to nₑ ≤ 10¹³·⁵ cm⁻³ and Tₑ = 20,000K. The model suggests that T(p) = 100,000K. Cataclysmic variables too have a central source due to loss of half the accretion energy at the white dwarf surface. This temperature is no higher than the innermost disk regions; hence, mass accretion rates determine the character of the EUV radiation. Observations of 13 cataclysmics representing most types were obtained. From these data, the H, HeI, HeII, CaII, and high excitation metal emission line behavior in cataclysmics were analyzed. Cataclysmic variable accretion rates were shown to follow a sequence; from the low excitation dwarf novae [10⁻⁹·⁵ ≤ Ṁ (Mₒ/yr) ≤ 10⁻⁸·⁵] to the high excitation novae and nova-like systems [10⁻⁸·⁵ < Ṁ(Mₒ/yr) ≤ 10⁻⁶·⁵]. Predicted line profiles were consistent with observations. Thus, the model accounts well for the considered observations.