The spin periods of magnetic cataclysmic variables

Norton, A. J.; Somerscales, R. V. and Wynn, G. A. (2004). The spin periods of magnetic cataclysmic variables. In: 315, Magnetic Cataclysmic Variables (Vrielmann, Sonja and Cropper, Mark eds.), Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Astroshop (Astronomical Society of the Pacific), San Francisco, CA, USA, pp. 216–229.



We have used a model of magnetic accretion to investigate the rotational equilibria of magnetic cataclysmic variables (mCVs). This has enabled us toderive a set of equilibrium spin periods as a function of orbital period and magnetic moment which we use to estimate the magnetic moments of all known intermediate polars. We further show how these equilibrium spin periods relate to the polar synchronisation condition and use these results to calculate the theoretical histogram describing the distribution of magnetic CVs as a function of P_spin / P_orb. We demonstrate that this is in remarkable agreement with the observed distribution assuming that the number of systems as a function of white dwarf magnetic moment is distributed according to N(mu_1) ~ mu_1^-2.

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