Letter | Published:

Simultaneous IR and optical light curves of 2A0311–227

Nature volume 301, pages 223225 (20 January 1983) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The complex wavelength dependence1–4 shown by the light curves of the AM Herculis type binaries such as 2A0311–227 (EFΔERI) and AM Her itself has led to suggestions5–7 that accretion occurs onto both magnetic poles of the white dwarf. The field strengths of the two poles being sufficiently different that one pole dominates at optical wavelengths, while the other produces most of the emission in the IR. Other authors3 have argued for a single pole model explaining the wavelength dependence of the light curves in terms of the rapidly changing cyclotron opacity with wavelength. An observational method of distinguishing between these two models is provided by the rapid flickering, which is a characteristic property of the light curves at both optical and IR wavelengths. We report here that the optical and IR flickering of 2A0311–227 are highly correlated indicating that in this object the dominant source of cyclotron radiation at both wavelengths is the same accretion column.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Hatfield Polytechnic Observatory, Bayfordbury House, Hertford SG13 8LD, UK

    • Jeremy Bailey
    •  & J. H. Hough
  2. United Kingdom Infrared Telescope Unit, 900 Leilani Street, Hilo, Hawaii, USA

    • Ian Gatley
  3. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

    • David J. Axon
  4. Present address: Anglo Australian Observatory, PO Box 296, Epping, New South Wales 2121, Australia.

    • Jeremy Bailey

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/301223a0

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