Accretion Column Structure of Magnetic Cataclysmic Variables from X-ray Spectroscopy

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Using Chandra HETG data we present light curves for individual spectral lines of Mg XI and Mg XII for EX Hydrae, an intermediate-polar type cataclysmic variable. The Mg XI light curve, folded on the white dwarf spin period, shows two spikes that are not seen in the Mg XII or broad-band light curves. Occultation of the accretion column by the body of the white dwarf would produce such spikes for an angle between the rotation axis and the accretion columns of {alpha} = 18{sup o} and a height of the Mg XI emission above the white dwarf surface of {approx}< ... continued below

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Hoogerwerf, R; Brickhouse, N S & Mauche, C W February 27, 2006.

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Using Chandra HETG data we present light curves for individual spectral lines of Mg XI and Mg XII for EX Hydrae, an intermediate-polar type cataclysmic variable. The Mg XI light curve, folded on the white dwarf spin period, shows two spikes that are not seen in the Mg XII or broad-band light curves. Occultation of the accretion column by the body of the white dwarf would produce such spikes for an angle between the rotation axis and the accretion columns of {alpha} = 18{sup o} and a height of the Mg XI emission above the white dwarf surface of {approx}< 0.0004 white dwarf radii or {approx}< 4 km. The absence of spikes in the Mg XII and broad-band light curves could then be explained if the bulk of its emission forms at much larger height, > 0.004 white dwarf radii or > 40 km, above the white dwarf surface. The technique described in this letter demonstrates that high signal-to-noise ratio and high spectral resolution X-ray spectra can be used to map the temperature and density structure of accretion flows in magnetic cataclysmic variables. The Mg XI and Mg XII light curves are not consistent with the temperature and density structure predicted by the standard Aizu model.

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PDF-file: 15 pages; size: 0.5 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal, vol. 643, N/A, May 20, 2006, L45-L48

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-220483
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 894753
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884818

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • February 27, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 7:04 p.m.

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Hoogerwerf, R; Brickhouse, N S & Mauche, C W. Accretion Column Structure of Magnetic Cataclysmic Variables from X-ray Spectroscopy, article, February 27, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884818/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.