Detailed mid- and far-ultraviolet model spectra for accretion disks in cataclysmic binaries

Richard A. Wade, Ivan Hubeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We present a large grid of computed far- and mid-ultraviolet spectra (850-2000 A) of the integrated light from steady-state accretion disks in luminous cataclysmic variables. The spectra are tabulated at 0.25 Å intervals with an adopted FWHM resolution of 1.0 Å, so they are suitable for use with observed spectra from a variety of modern space-borne observatories. Twenty-six different combinations of white dwarf mass Mwd and mass accretion rate ṁ are considered, and spectra are presented for six different disk inclinations i. The disk models are computed self-consistently in the plane-parallel approximation, assuming LTE and vertical hydrostatic equilibrium, by solving simultaneously the radiative transfer, hydrostatic equilibrium, and energy balance equations. Irradiation from external sources is neglected. Local spectra of disk annuli are computed taking into account line transitions from elements 1-28 (H through Ni). Limb darkening as well as Doppler broadening and blending of lines are taken into account in computing the integrated disk spectra. The radiative properties of the models are discussed, including the dependence of ultraviolet fluxes and colors on Mwd, ṁ, and i. The appearance of the disk spectra is illustrated, with regard to changes in the same three parameters. Finally, possible future improvements to the present models and spectra are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-361
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART I
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Binaries: close
  • Novae, cataclysmic variables
  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Ultraviolet: stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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