Szkody, Paula Department of Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
- Accretion disk systems
- Magnetic systems
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A type of close binary star system containing a cool star transferring material to its hotter, high-density, degenerate white dwarf companion. The mass transfer results in a large range of observed variability, including cataclysmic events called outbursts, which can increase the brightness of the systems by 2– 10 magnitudes (a logarithmic scale with each magnitude being a factor of 2.5 in brightness) from quiescence, equivalent to a factor of 6–10,000 times in intensity. The specific behavior of each system and the extent and cause of the variability are related to whether the transferred material accumulates in an accretion disk surrounding the white dwarf, or whether it flows in a ballistic stream directly from the cool star to the white dwarf surface. Which of these processes will occur depends on the magnetic field strength of the white dwarf and the separation of the two stars in the binary, properties which are determined during the formation of the system (see illustration). See also: Magnitude (astronomy)
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information