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Astron. Astrophys. 338, 521-526 (1998)

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The pulsar-like white dwarf in AE Aquarii

Nazar R. Ikhsanov 1, 2

1 Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik der Universität München, Scheinerstraße 1, D-81679 München, Germany
2 Central Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science at Pulkovo, Pulkovo 65-1, 196140 Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Received 23 April 1998 / Accepted 27 July 1998


The spindown power of the compact companion in the close binary system AE Aqr essentially exceeds the bolometrical luminosity of the system. The interpretation of this phenomenon under various assumptions about the state and the nature of the primary companion is discussed. It is shown that the rapid braking on the compact companion of AE Aqr can be explained in terms of the pulsar mechanism provided the magnetic moment of the compact star [FORMULA], that implies a magnetic field strength at the surface of the white dwarf of about 50 MG. Under this condition the spindown power is used predominantly for the generation of magneto-dipole waves and particle acceleration. A stream-fed, diskless mass-exchange picture with the average rate of mass transfer [FORMULA] is expected in the frame of the suggested model. Similarity of some properties of the X-ray emission observed from AE Aqr and canonical radio pulsars in the ROSAT energy range (e.g. the power law spectrum of pulsing component with [FORMULA] and the ratio [FORMULA]) allows to suggest common mechanisms of particle acceleration and the polar cap heating in these systems.

Key words: stars: novae, cataclysmic variables – stars: magnetic fields – stars: pulsars: general – stars: individual: AE Aqr

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: September 14, 1998