The magnetic Cataclysmic Variable (mCV) RX J1940.1-1025 belongs to the three-member subclass of polars with a slight non-synchronism (<2%) between the spin of the white dwarf and the orbital rotation. In these systems the accretion geometry changes periodically with phase of the beat frequency. We have now found in RX J1940.1-1025 a periodic shift in the timings of the `troughs' in the X-ray and optical pulse profiles with beat phase. We interpret this to be due to a longitudinal displacement of the accretion region relative to the magnetic pole and to the varying angle between the field line and the white dwarf surface, caused by the asynchronous rotation. Such an effect is expected, because the accreting matter is progressively threaded by different field lines during the beat period and therefore produces a hot spot at varying positions relative to the magnetic pole. The application of a dipole accretion model to the data of RX J1940.1-1025 yields a refined value for the spin period of 12150.40+/-0.08s (epoch 1994.5), with a resulting beat period of 50.0+/-0.3d (1994.4). The fit includes a quadratic term in P_spin_, leading to a value for a secular decrease of the spin period by -(9.8+/-2.9)x10^-9^s/s, marginally significant. This would correspond to a synchronization time scale of 100y, comparable to the 170y seen in V1500 Cyg. In addition, further constraints on the accretion geometry in RX J1940.1-1025 are given.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- September 1997
- STARS: CATACLYSMIC VARIABLES;
- STARS: INDIVIDUAL: RX J1940.1-1025;
- STARS: MAGNETIC FIELDS;
- X-RAYS: STARS