Journal Article

GD 552: a cataclysmic variable with a brown dwarf companion?

E. Unda-Sanzana, T. R. Marsh, B. T. Gänsicke, P. F. L. Maxted, L. Morales-Rueda, V. S. Dhillon, T. D. Thoroughgood, E. Tremou, C. A. Watson and R. Hinojosa-Goñi

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 388, issue 2, pages 889-897
Published in print August 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
GD 552: a cataclysmic variable with a brown dwarf companion?

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GD 552 is a high proper motion star with the strong, double-peaked emission lines characteristic of the dwarf nova class of cataclysmic variable (CV) star, and yet no outburst has been detected during the past 12 yr of monitoring. We present spectroscopy taken with the aim of detecting emission from the mass donor in this system. We fail to do so at a level which allows us to rule out the presence of a near-main-sequence star donor. Given GD 552's orbital period of 103 min, this suggests that it is either a system that has evolved through the ∼80-minute orbital period minimum of CV stars and now has a brown dwarf mass donor, or that has formed with a brown dwarf donor in the first place. This model explains the low observed orbital velocity of the white dwarf and GD 552's low luminosity. It is also consistent with the absence of outbursts from the system.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; binaries: close; binaries: spectroscopic; stars: individual: GD 552

Journal Article.  6000 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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