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Astron. Astrophys. 341, 567-573 (1999)

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On the flow topology in contact binaries

J. Hazlehurst

Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, D-21029 Hamburg, Germany

Received 26 November 1997 / Accepted 14 October 1998


Using a simple model we investigate how the flow field in a contact binary can alter its topology under the influence of Coriolis forces. In the case studied, closed streamlines form over a relatively large area. This result causes us to review critically the argument that all surface streamlines can meet in a stagnation point, leading to a constant Jacobi energy over the whole surface. A general statement by Landau & Lifshitz concerning Bernoulli's constant is fully confirmed by the present investigation.

Key words: stars: binaries: close – hydrodynamics

Send offprint requests to: John Hazlehurst (address above)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: December 4, 1998