The anomalous accretion disk of the cataclysmic variable RW Sextantis

Albert P. Linnell, Patrick Godon, Ivan Hubeny, Edward M. Sion, Paula Szkody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Synthetic spectra covering the wavelength range 900-3000 Å provide an accurate fit, established by a χν 2 analysis, to a combined observed spectrum of RW Sextantis. Two separately calibrated distances to the system establish the synthetic spectrum comparison on an absolute flux basis but with two alternative scaling factors, requiring alternative values of ?M for final models. Based on comparisons for a range of ?M values, the observed spectrum does not follow the standard model. Rather than the exponent 0.25 in the expression for the radial temperature profile, a value close to 0.125 produces a synthetic spectrum with an accurate fit to the combined spectrum. A study of time-series Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer spectra shows that a proposed warped or tilted disk is not supported by the data; an alternative proposal is that an observed non-axisymmetric wind results from an interaction with the mass transfer stream debris.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2010


  • Cataclysmic variables
  • Novae
  • Online-only material: color figure
  • Stars: individual (constellation name: RW sextantis)
  • White dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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