A Search for Circular Polarization in Cataclysmic Variables

December 1992 • 1992ApJ...401..628S

Authors • Stockman, H. S. • Schmidt, Gary D. • Berriman, G. • Liebert, James • Moore, R. L. • Wickramasinghe, D. T.

Abstract • Results are presented of an optical and IR polarimetric observing program at Steward Observatory to search for AM Her systems and to detect circularly polarized light in CV systems in which a magnetic white dwarf may be present. Circular polarization techniques are found to be quite sensitive in detecting the polarized cyclotron emission, free-free emission, or photospheric emission in CV systems with highly magnetic white dwarfs. Of the known CVs, few or no AM Her systems remain undiscovered. Thus, the space density of these systems can be determined by the completeness of the original X-ray or photometric surveys and subsequent CV identifications. Selection effects of this survey's sensitivity cannot explain the lack of identified AM Her systems with very high field strengths or with long periods.


IPAC Authors


Bruce Berriman

Senior Scientist