Prinja, R. K.; Long, K. S.; Froning, C. S.; Knigge, C.; Witherick, D. K.; Clark, J. S. and Ringwald, F. A.
FUSE and HST ultraviolet observations of the disc wind of RW Sextantis.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 340(2) pp. 551–561.
We present Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) satellite time-series data of the low-inclination, nova-like cataclysmic variable RW Sex. The data span the wavelength range between ∼905 and 1188 Å, which contains the resonance lines of C iii, N iii, S iv, P v, S vi and O vi. All these spectral lines are present in the form of blueshifted absorption components, with no evidence for the lines redward of rest velocity; the FUSE data probe the fast disc-wind of RW Sex. The time-variable nature of these features is established. Substantial line profile variability is observed, confined between ∼−1000 and 0 km s−1 , and modulated on the orbital period of the system (∼0.245 d) . The fundamental characteristics of the temporal behaviour are very similar between the low and high ionization lines. The wind-dominated lines exhibit a cyclic increase in absorption optical depth which is accompanied by a shift in the maximum absorption velocity from ∼−1000 km s−1 to near zero velocity. We argue that the empirical evidence from the FUSE analysis supports an interpretation of blueshifted absorptive changes as opposed to the action of a variable (in velocity) blueshifted (perhaps disc-formed) emission component. This conclusion is further bolstered by an analysis of archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS) data of RW Sex. We discuss a phenomenological picture of the ultraviolet (UV) line profile variability where the symmetry of a confined bipolar wind in RW Sex is broken by assuming that the outflow is oblique, perhaps because it is seated on a warped or tilted disc. The temporal UV absorption properties of non-eclipsing nova-like systems are compared.
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