The emission-line pulse pattern in the intermediate polar RX J0558+53

Emilios Harlaftis, Keith Douglas Horne

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14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We observed the intermediate polar RX J0558+53 with the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and find a 'corkscrew' pattern in the pulsed emission lines, which indicates a two-pole white dwarf accretion. The 'corkscrew' pattern consists of two emission-line pulses, separated by half the white dwarf spin period, and moving from red to blue velocities. The detected emission-line pulsations have an amplitude of 1.1-2.7 per cent in the He II and Balmer emission lines at the 545-s spin period of the white dwarf compared with 3.5-4.8 per cent for the continuum double-peak pulsations. We image the emission-line pulse pattern and it is shown to lag the continuum pulse by 0.12 spin cycles. We interpret the pattern by invoking an accretion curtain from the disrupted, inner disc to the two poles of the magnetic white dwarf. The semi-amplitude of the He II pulse of 408 +/- 35 km s(-1) can be used to constrain the size of the magnetosphere, R similar to 4.1 x 10(4) km, and the magnetic moment of the white dwarf (similar to 2.4 x 10(32) G cm(3)). Power spectra show dominant frequencies at 2 omega and 2(omega - Omega) which suggest reprocessing of the illuminating beams of the white dwarf in the accretion disc. Finally, the steady He II emission line shows a strong sinusoidal component moving from red to blue at binary phase 0.5, with a width similar to that expected from irradiation of the secondary star. Imaging of the emission lines indicates illuminated locations at the inner side of the red star and the back side of the accretion disc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)pp.437-448.
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume305
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 1999

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion discs
  • binaries : close
  • stars : individual : RX J0558+5353 (V405 Aur)
  • stars : magnetic fields
  • novae, cataclysmic variables
  • X-RAY OBSERVATIONS
  • CATACLYSMIC VARIABLES
  • ACCRETION GEOMETRY
  • BALMER EMISSION
  • HERCULIS STARS
  • POWER SPECTRA
  • SPIN PERIOD
  • WHITE-DWARF
  • AE-AQUARII
  • OUTBURST

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