Journal Article

Evidence for pole switching in the magnetic cataclysmic variable BY Camelopardalis

Paul A. Mason, Gavin Ramsay, Ivan Andronov, Sergey Kolesnikov, Nickolay Shakhovskoy and Elana Pavlenko

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 295, issue 3, pages 511-518
Published in print April 1998 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 1998 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.1998.01185.x
Evidence for pole switching in the magnetic cataclysmic variable BY Camelopardalis

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An analysis of X-ray and optical light curves of the magnetic cataclysmic variable (MCV) BY Cam is presented. This system is one of three MCVs in which the spin period of the white dwarf and the binary orbital period differ by ∼1 per cent. As such these ‘BY Cam’ stars are important objects with which to probe the field structure of the magnetic white dwarf and ultimately the nature of synchronization of AM Her binaries. We confirm asynchronous rotation of the magnetic white dwarf with respect to the binary. We find evidence that the accretion stream accretes directly on to the white dwarf as in AM Her systems, but further, the stream impacts on to different magnetic poles over the course of the beat period. We present evidence that the optical and hard X-ray light curves modulate in phase, but together they are out of phase with the soft X-ray light curve. We confirm the spin down of the white dwarf which is expected to lead to the synchronization of the spin and orbital periods of BY Cam.

Keywords: binaries: close; stars: individual: BY Cam; stars: magnetic fields; novae, cataclysmic variables; stars: variables: other; X-rays: stars

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Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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