The X-ray spectra of intermediate polars (accreting magnetic white dwarfs with a magnetically disrupted inner accretion disk) can be modeled to give a direct measurement of white dwarf mass. However, as the characteristic temperature of the standing shock located above the white dwarf is typically >10 keV, we require telescopes capable of detecting hard X-rays. The emergence of NuSTAR as the first telescope capable of focusing hard X-rays has brought about a previously unprecedented combination of high sensitivity and high spatial and spectral resolution beyond 10 keV. The capabilities of NuSTAR make it the ideal observatory to perform a survey of accurate white dwarf masses in intermediate polars. In November 2017 we commenced a survey of magnetic cataclysmic variables under the NuSTAR Legacy Survey program. I will present results from the survey, which intends to constrain the mass distribution of magnetic white dwarfs in our Galaxy, and in turn has important implications for binary evolution models.
43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Held 28 January - 4 February
- Pub Date:
- January 2021