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  1. ABSTRACT

    Astrophysical objects possessing a material surface (white dwarfs, young stars, etc.) may accrete gas from the disc through the so-called surface boundary layer (BL), in which the angular velocity of the accreting gas experiences a sharp drop. Acoustic waves excited by the supersonic shear in the BL play an important role in mediating the angular momentum and mass transport through that region. Here we examine the characteristics of the angular momentum transport produced by the different types of wave modes emerging in the inner disc, using the results of a large suite of hydrodynamic simulations of the BLs. We provide a comparative analysis of the transport properties of different modes across the range of relevant disc parameters. In particular, we identify the types of modes that are responsible for the mass accretion on to the central object. We find the correlated perturbations of surface density and radial velocity to provide an important contribution to the mass accretion rate. Although the wave-driven transport is intrinsically non-local, we do observe a clear correlation between the angular momentum flux injected into the disc by the waves and the mass accretion rate through the BL. We find the efficiency of angular momentum transport (normalized by thermal pressure) to be a weak function of the flow Mach number. We also quantify the wave-driven evolution of the inner disc, in particular the modification of the angular frequency profile in the disc. Our results pave the way for understanding wave-mediated transport in future three-dimensional, magnetohydrodynamic studies of the BLs.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We show that a small but measurable shift in the eclipse midpoint time of eclipsing binary (EBs) stars of ∼0.1 s over a decade baseline can be used to directly measure the Galactic acceleration of stars in the Milky Way at ∼kiloparsec distances from the Sun. We consider contributions to the period drift rate from dynamical mechanisms other than the Galaxy’s gravitational field and show that the Galactic acceleration can be reliably measured using a sample of Kepler EBs with orbital and stellar parameters from the literature. The contribution from tidal decay we estimate here is an upper limit assuming the stars are not tidally synchronized. We find there are about 200 detached EBs that have estimated timing precision better than 0.5 s, and for which other dynamical effects are subdominant to the Galactic signal. We illustrate the method with a prototypical, precisely timed EB using an archival Kepler light curve and a modern synthetic HST light curve (which provides a decade baseline). This novel method establishes a realistic possibility to constrain dark matter substructure and the Galactic potential using eclipse timing to measure Galactic accelerations, along with other emerging new methods, including pulsar timing and extreme-precision radial velocity observations. This acceleration signal grows quadratically with time. Therefore, given baselines established in the near future for distant EBs, we can expect to measure the period drift in the future with space missions like JWST and the Roman Space Telescope.

     
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