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Warwick Astronomy PhD projects

The Nature of Supersoft X-ray Binaries

Supersoft X-ray Binaries (SSXBs) are close relatives of the cataclysmic variables (CVs), possibly some of them are actually CVs in a peculiar stage of evolution. The important difference between the two classes of objects is that the mass transfer rate from the secondary star is much higher in SSXBs than in CVs. A fascinating consequence of this high mass transfer rate is that a steady nuclear hydrogen burning is established on the surface of the white dwarf: the accreted hydrogen is transformed into helium just at the rate that it is provided by the secondary star. Despite major observational efforts carried out throughout the last decade, a number of questions about the nature of SSXBs and their evolution (e.g., their relation to CVs) remain without answer. During your PhD, you will work with observations of several SSXBs obtained with the worlds largest telescopes and covering the electromagnetic spectrum from X-rays to optical wavelengths, using e.g. XMM-Newton, HST, and the ESO VLT. Supervisor: Boris Gänsicke

Please fill in our PhD enquiries form if you are interested in studying for a PhD in Astronomy at Warwick.