Modifying the Standard Disk Model for the Ultraviolet Spectral Analysis of Disk-dominated Cataclysmic Variables. I. The Novalikes MV Lyrae, BZ Camelopardalis, and V592 Cassiopeiae

Astrophys J. 2017 Sep 1;846(No 1):52. doi: 10.3847/1538-4357/aa7f71. Epub 2017 Aug 31.


The standard disk is often inadequate to model disk-dominated cataclysmic variables (CVs) and generates a spectrum that is bluer than the observed UV spectra. X-ray observations of these systems reveal an optically thin boundary layer (BL) expected to appear as an inner hole in the disk. Consequently, we truncate the inner disk. However, instead of removing the inner disk, we impose the no-shear boundary condition at the truncation radius, thereby lowering the disk temperature and generating a spectrum that better fits the UV data. With our modified disk, we analyze the archival UV spectra of three novalikes that cannot be fitted with standard disks. For the VY Scl systems MV Lyr and BZ Cam, we fit a hot inflated white dwarf (WD) with a cold modified disk ( [Formula: see text] ~ a few 10-9M yr-1). For V592 Cas, the slightly modified disk ( [Formula: see text] ~ 6 × 10-9M yr-1) completely dominates the UV. These results are consistent with Swift X-ray observations of these systems, revealing BLs merged with ADAF-like flows and/or hot coronae, where the advection of energy is likely launching an outflow and heating the WD, thereby explaining the high WD temperature in VY Scl systems. This is further supported by the fact that the X-ray hardness ratio increases with the shallowness of the UV slope in a small CV sample we examine. Furthermore, for 105 disk-dominated systems, the International Ultraviolet Explorer spectra UV slope decreases in the same order as the ratio of the X-ray flux to optical/UV flux: from SU UMa's, to U Gem's, Z Cam's, UX UMa's, and VY Scl's.

Keywords: accretion; accretion disks – novae; cataclysmic variables – white dwarfs.