Cataclysmic Variables from SDSS
Hello all. This thread is to continue discussions stemming from my project with DocArne begun here. To recap, we are working on analyzing and eventually writing a paper about a body of unpublished follow-up observations of a large number of newly discovered cataclysmic variable stars found by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) since 2000.
These are very interesting stars involving a binary composed of an old M star and a younger white dwarf. They are orbiting each other closely enough that the more massive white dwarf is pulling mass off of the M star that then forms a disk around the white dwarf and eventually falls onto the surface of the white dwarf, causing an outburst that appears as a nova. SDSS has discovered a couple hundred new cataclysmic variable stars of all different types and stages of development, but, being new, numerous, and faint (at quiescence between 16 and 20 mag), the SDSS team were unable to get clear or enough data to classify the new stars or to determine many important parameters (like orbital period, temperature, mass, distance, spectral type, &c.).
DocArne has made a lot of follow-up photometric observations of many of these new systems. I have set up a team called the SDSS Cataclysmic Variable Analysis team to help DocArne organize, analyze, and eventually publish his data. If anyone is interested in joining, either let me know here or request to join the group. Our current phase is to mine the literature concerning the first small subset of stars we will be dealing with for any publications since their discovery and to see what is known (and yet to be known) about them. Already it is clear that a lot of these stars are of a type predicted by evolutionary models, but have previously been unable to be seen because they are so faint, so that's already pretty exciting.
Anyway, I'll probably post more details or interesting bits of info here as they come up. Clear skies!