Publ. Astron. Soc. Pac., 117, 427-444 (2005/May-0)
Pulsations, boundary layers, and period bounce in the cataclysmic variable RE J1255+266.
PATTERSON J., THORSTENSEN J.R. and KEMP J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report time-series photometry of the quiescent optical counterpart of the EUV transient RE J1255+266. The star appears as a DA white dwarf with bright emission lines and a complex spectrum of periodic signals in its light curve. A signal at 0.0829 days is likely to be the orbital period of the underlying cataclysmic binary (probably a dwarf nova). Characteristic periods of 1344, 1236, and 668 s are seen, as well as a host of weaker signals. We interpret these noncommensurate signals as (nonradial) pulsation periods of the white dwarf. The donor star is unseen at all wavelengths, and the accretion rate is very low. We estimate a distance of 180±50 pc and MV=14.6±1.3 for the accretion light. The binary probably represents a very late stage of evolution, with the donor star whittled down to M2<0.05 M☉. Such binaries stubbornly resist discovery due to their faintness and reluctance to erupt, but are probably a very common type of cataclysmic variable. If the signal at 0.0829 days is indeed the orbital period, then the binary is an excellent candidate as a ``period bouncer.'' Plausible colleagues in this club include four dwarf novae and the (so far) noneruptive stars GD 552 and 1RXS J105010.3-140431. The 1994 EUV eruption implies a soft X-ray/EUV luminosity of 1034-1035 ergs/s, greater than that of any other dwarf nova. We attribute that to a favorable blend of properties: a high-mass white dwarf, a very transparent line of sight (the ``local chimney''), and a low binary inclination. The first maximizes the expected temperature and luminosity of boundary-layer emission; the other two increase the likelihood that soft X-rays can survive their perilous passage through an accretion-disk wind and the interstellar medium.
Accretion, Accretion Disks - Stars: Binaries: Close - Stars: Novae, Cataclysmic Variables - stars: individual (RE J1255+266)
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