A new soft X-ray spectral model for polars with an application to AM Herculis⋆
1 Institut für Astrophysik, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, 85740 Garching b. München, Germany
Received: 13 March 2012
Accepted: 1 May 2012
We present a simple heuristic model for the time-averaged soft X-ray temperature distribution in the accretion spot on the white dwarf in polars. The model is based on the analysis of the Chandra LETG spectrum of the prototype polar AM Her and involves an exponential distribution of the emitting area vs. blackbody temperature a(T) = a0 exp( − T/T0). With one free parameter besides the normalization, it is mathematically as simple as the single blackbody, but is physically more plausible and fits the soft X-ray and far-ultraviolet spectral fluxes much better. The model yields more reliable values of the wavelength-integrated flux of the soft X-ray component and the implied accretion rate than reported previously.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / novae, cataclysmic variables / stars: individual: AM Her / X-rays: binaries
© ESO, 2012