Modelling of the magnetic accretion flow in HU Aquarii

C Heerlein, Keith Douglas Horne, AD Schwope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


We present a magnetic stripping model for AM Her type objects. Our model is based on an equilibrium condition between ram pressure and magnetic pressure in a stiff dipolar magnetic field. We investigate the detailed geometry of the stripping process, most of which can be tackled analytically. By involving additional numerical calculations, the model allows the prediction of phase-resolved spectra and Doppler tomograms. The emission-line features from the companion star, the horizontal stream and the accretion curtain are identified with the emission-line components found by Gaussian fitting to observational data of HU Aqr in its high-accretion state. Given the simplicity of the model, its agreement with the observation is remarkably good, and it enables us to derive a number of physical quantities such as stellar masses and radii, total mass accretion rate, bulk temperature, and coupling density.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)pp.145-154.
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 1999


  • accretion, accretion discs
  • stars : individual : HU Aqr
  • stars : magnetic fields
  • novae, cataclysmic variables


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