7-11 July 2014
Africa/Johannesburg timezone
<a href="http://events.saip.org.za/internalPage.py?pageId=16&confId=34"><font color=#0000ff>SAIP2014 Proceedings published on 17 April 2015</font></a>

Accretion processes in cataclysmic variables: Insights from optical transient surveys

10 Jul 2014, 15:00
Oral Presentation Track D1 - Astrophysics Space


Ms Mokhine Motsoaledi (South African Astronomical Observatory)

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Cataclysmic variables (CVs) are mass transferring binary stars consisting of a low mass main sequence (MS) donor star and an accreting white dwarf star. AM CVn stars are a subclass of cataclysmic variables which have helium-rich donors (a white dwarf, a helium star or an evolved MS star). Their most defining features are their ultra-short orbital periods and helium-dominated spectra. The presence of a strong magnetic field would affect the trajectory of the mass flow, causing it to follow a stream along the magnetic field lines on to the magnetic poles of the white dwarf. An intermediate polar would truncate the accretion disc on the inside whereas a polar prevent an accretion disc from forming at all. The Catalina Real-time Survey (CRTS) is a synoptic transient survey which detects transients that vary in brightness over 2 mags over a large area of sky. In the past 15 years, wide area surveys such as the CRTS have greatly increased the number of known CVs (> 1000). The nine year observing baseline of the CRTS makes it suitable for identifying magnetic CVs from their low-to-high state transistions, or vice versa. I observed sources from the CRTS at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland. I've discovered 3 new AM CVns (~10% of the known AM CVns) and I'm currently exploring ways to identify and characertise magnetic CVs from the CRTS.

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Dr David Buckley (SALT), A/Prof Patrick Woudt (UCT), Prof Brian Warner (UCT), Dr Stephen Potter (SAAO)

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Primary author

Ms Mokhine Motsoaledi (South African Astronomical Observatory)


Prof. Brian Warner (University of Cape Town) Dr David Buckley (Southern African Large Telescope) Prof. Patrick Woudt (University of Cape Town) Dr Stephen potter (SAAO)

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