Cataclysmic Variable Stars: how and why they vary.

Published: Springer-Verlag UK, January 2001.
Paperback of 210 pages with 154 illustrations;
ISBN: 1-85233-211-5

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``This is what I've been hoping for all along, a CV book written for advanced amateurs and undergraduates and yet not shunning physics. Very digestible. '' -- Joe Patterson (CBA news)

``The layout, illustrations, structure, and writing have all come together to create what is almost the perfect book on CVs.'' -- Aaron Price (AAVSO)

``Coel Hellier has done a splendid job in presenting the essentials for understanding these enigmatic variable stars without burying the reader in detail . . . an excellent book which deserves to be much used'' -- Robert Connon Smith (Observatory)

``... sure to become a classic within the amateur CV community for many years to come'' -- Gary Poyner (BAA Journal)

Cataclysmic variable stars are the most variable stars in the night sky, fluctuating in brightness continually on timescales from seconds to hours to weeks to years. The changes can be recorded using amateur telescopes, yet are also the subject of intensive study by professional astronomers.

That study has led to an understanding of cataclysmic variables as binary stars, orbiting so closely that material transfers from one star to the other. The resulting process of accretion is one of the most important in astrophysics.

This book presents the first account of cataclysmic variables at an introductory level. Assuming no previous knowledge of the field, it explains the basic principles underlying the variability, while providing an extensive compilation of cataclysmic variable light curves. Aimed at undergraduates, novice researchers and amateur astronomers, the main text is accessible to those with no mathematical background, while supplementary boxes present technical details and equations at a level suitable for an undergraduate.

1. Observing cataclysmic variables
2. The orbital cycle
3. Spectral characteristics
4. The evolution of cataclysmic variables
5. Discs and outbursts
6. Elliptical discs and superoutbursts
7. Siphons, winds and streams
8. Magnetic cataclysmic variables I: AM Her stars
9. Magnetic cataclysmic variables II: intermediate polars
10. Flickering and oscillations
11. The nova eruption
12. Secondary star variations
13. Variations on the theme