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Synchronous rotation in magnetic X-ray binaries
Joss, P. C.; Katz, J. I.; Rappaport, S.
AA(MIT, Cambridge, Mass.), AB(MIT, Cambridge, Mass.), AC(California, University, Los Angeles, Calif.)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, vol. 230, May 15, 1979, p. 176-183. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Binary Stars, Magnetic Stars, Stellar Rotation, Stellar Systems, X Ray Astronomy, X Ray Binaries, X Ray Stars, Dwarf Stars, Magnetostatics, Ohmic Dissipation, Stellar Models, Synchronism
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AM Herculis is thought to be a binary stellar system that contains an accreting magnetic degenerate dwarf whose rotation is synchronous with the orbital period. This synchronism is remarkable, particularly because of the small moment of inertia of a degenerate dwarf and the large specific angular momentum of the accreted matter. This paper demonstrates that ohmic dissipation from the magnetic interaction of the stars is capable of bringing about exact synchronism, provided that some other process has brought the rotation period of the degenerate dwarf to the same order of magnitude as the orbital period. It is also shown that magnetostatic interaction in the synchronous state leads to oscillatory drifts in phase about exact synchronism with periods of approximately 1-10 yr. These phase drifts could manifest themselves in long-term periodic variability in the X-ray or optical properties of the source. Accretion torques could excite such oscillatory motions but need not disrupt synchronism once it has been established.

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