NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0061

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0061


PI: Manuel Torres, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, mtorres@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Boris Gaensicke, University of Warwick (UK)
CoI: Pablo Rodriguez-Gil, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain)
CoI: Knox Long, Space Telescope Science Institute (USA)
CoI: Tom Marsh, University of Warwick (UK)
CoI: Danny Steeghs, University of Warwick (UK)
CoI: Teodoro Munoz-Darias, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain)
CoI: Tariq Shahbaz, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain)
CoI: Linda Schmidtobreick, European Southern Observatory (Chile)
CoI: Matthias Schreiber, Universidad de Valparaiso (Chile)

Title: The primary role of the SW Sextantis stars in the evolution of cataclysmic variables

Abstract: SW Sextantis stars are a relatively large group of cataclysmic variables (CVs) which plays a fundamental role in our understanding of CV structure and evolution. Very little is known about the properties of their accreting white dwarfs and their donor stars, as the stellar components are usually outshone by an extremely bright accretion flow. Consequently, a proper assesment of their evolutionary state is illusionary. We are monitoring the brightness of a number of SW Sex stars and request here Gemini/GMOS-N ToO time to obtain orbital phase-resolved spectroscopy if one of them enters a low state, since this is the only opportunity for studying the stellar components individually. These data will be used to accurately measure the binary parameters, white dwarf temperature, and distance to the system for a SW Sex star for the first time. The measured stellar masses and radii will especially be a precious input to the theory of compact binary evolution as a whole.


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