Cataclysmic Polar Stars, Artwork

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14 Jun 2012
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an impression of the polar (or am her system) known as sdss 1212. normal polars consist of a highly magnetic white dwarf orbiting a red dwarf. the white dwarf's powerful magnetic field, on the order of a few tens of millions of gauss, strips gas from the atmosphere of its red dwarf companion. in this particular system, however, the donating object is a brown dwarf rather than a red dwarf, and the white dwarf's magnetic field is thought to be only around 7 million gauss. the entire system of stars and gas swing around in space with a period of 88 minutes. both stars could easily fit inside the sun. cataclysmic polar stars. artwork of a white dwarf (blue) orbiting around a brown dwarf (red). the white dwarf's powerful magnetic field is pulling atmospheric matter away from the brown dwarf. the white dwarf's magnetic field is so strong that the extracted matter is not uniformly attracted to the star as with gravitational forces, but becomes caught up in the field and flows towards the white dwarf's magnetic poles.


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