Schedule Jan 22, 2004
Spreading of Accreted Material on White Dwarfs
Dr. Anthony Piro, UCSB

If an accretion disk remains thin near the point where it reaches the white dwarf surface, accreted material will first reach the stellar surface at the equator. This material must slow its orbit as it comes into co-rotation with the white dwarf, dissipating kinetic energy into thermal energy and creating a hot band of freshly accreted material around the equator. I will present a set of solutions which describe the properties of this hot belt (based on the work by Inogamov & Sunyaev 1999 for accreting neutron stars). I find that at low accretion rates the amount of spreading is negligible and most of the dissipated energy is radiated back into the accretion disk. When the accretion rate is high, such as in a dwarf nova outburst or symbiotic binary, the material may spread high enough to be seen above the accretion disk. This study opens up a new area of investigation for accreting systems, including being a new source for spectral modeling and nonradial oscillations.

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