Results of detailed computer simulations of mass loss from a cataclysmic variable secondary are presented. The calculations involve solution of the nonlinear hydrodynamical equations of stellar structure under varying degrees of approximation in an attempt to determine stability of the mass loss process. For comparison with previous theoretical studies dynamical sequences were computed assuming spherically symmetric mass loss from the secondary. The assumption of spherical symmetry is very poor since nearly all of the transferred material is lost within a small region about the inner Lagrangian point. Dynamical sequences treating only the region near the Lagrangian point were constructed in a manner consistent with the assumption of Roche geometry. Finally the effects of mass flow nonorthogonal to the Roche equipotential surfaces were treated in a very simple way. The last generalization produces stable mass loss in a model which was unstable for the less realistic approximation schemes. The finding of stable mass transfer implies that instability of the secondary star is not the mechanism leading to cataclysmic variable outbursts. This conclusion is consistent with published observations of dwarf novae made just prior to outburst.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science