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Paper: The CV period minimum
Volume: 157, Annapolis Workshop on Magnetic Cataclysmic Variables
Page: 273
Authors: Kolb, Ulrich; Baraffe, Isabelle
Abstract: Using improved, up-to-date stellar input physics tested against observations of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs we calculate the secular evolution of low-donor-mass CVs, including those which form with a brown dwarf donor star. Our models confirm the mismatch between the calculated minimum period (plus or minus in ~= 70 min) and the observed short-period cut-off (~= 80 min) in the CV period histogram. Theoretical period distributions synthesized from our model sequences always show an accumulation of systems at the minimum period, a feature absent in the observed distribution. We suggest that non-magnetic CVs become unobservable as they are effectively trapped in permanent quiescence before they reach plus or minus in, and that small-number statistics may hide the period spike for magnetic CVs. We calculate the minimum period for high mass transfer rate sequences and discuss the relevance of these for explaining the location of CV secondaries in the orbital-period-spectral-type diagram. We also show that a recently suggested revised mass-radius relation for low-mass main-sequence stars cannot explain the CV period gap.
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