Jets from Accreting White Dwarfs

(For a review on jets from symbiotic stars written for amateur astronomers, see Symbiotic Stars as Laboratories for the Study of Accretion and Jets: A Call for Optical Monitoring, Sokoloski 2004. For a short review written for professional astronomers, see Jets from Accreting White Dwarfs, Sokoloski et al. 2004)

Astrophysical jets are observed in systems ranging from stellar-mass black holes in X-ray binaries, to pre-main-sequence stars, to active galactic nuclei. But despite their prevalence, the physical processes underlying the collimation and acceleration of these outflows are still not well understood. If the basic ingredients for jet production are the same in all cases -- Livio (1997) proposed an accretion disk threaded by a magnetic field, plus some additional source of energy or wind close to the central object -- then the detailed study of one class of jet source promises to improve our understanding of the generation of astrophysical jets in general. Symbiotic stars, in which a white dwarf accretes from the wind of a red giant, provide a good starting point for such a study. They are numerous, close enough for their jets to be imaged, and have disks that are probably quite similar to the relatively well-understood disks in cataclysmic variable stars.

Below are some posters and papers on 1) the discovery of a radio jet associated with a classical symbiotic outburst of the prototypical symbiotic star Z And, and 2) photometric evidence for changes in an accretion disk associated with the production of a jet in the symbiotic-star WD accretor CH Cyg.



Last modified: Wed May 26 15:30:49 EDT 2004