Applegate mechanism in post-common-envelope binaries: Investigating the role of rotation
Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad de Concepción,
Av. Esteban Iturra s/n, Barrio Universitario,
2 Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
Accepted: 12 March 2018
Context. Eclipsing time variations are observed in many close binary systems. In particular, for several post-common-envelope binaries (PCEBs) that consist of a white dwarf and a main sequence star, the observed-minus-calculated (O–C) diagram suggests that real or apparent orbital period variations are driven by Jupiter-mass planets or as a result of magnetic activity, the so-called Applegate mechanism. The latter explains orbital period variations as a result of changes in the stellar quadrupole moment due to magnetic activity.
Aims. In this work we explore the feasibility of driving eclipsing time variations via the Applegate mechanism for a sample of PCEB systems, including a range of different rotation rates.
Methods. We used the MESA code to evolve 12 stars with different masses and rotation rates. We applied simple dynamo models to their radial profiles to investigate the scale at which the predicted activity cycle matches the observed modulation period, and quantifiy the uncertainty. We further calculated the required energies to drive the Applegate mechanism.
Results. We show that the Applegate mechanism is energetically feasible in 5 PCEB systems. In RX J2130.6+4710, it may be feasible as well considering the uncertainties. We note that these are the systems with the highest rotation rate compared to the critical rotation rate of the main-sequence star.
Conclusions. The results suggest that the ratio of physical to critical rotation rate in the main sequence star is an important indicator for the feasibility of Applegate’s mechanism, but exploring larger samples will be necessary to probe this hypothesis.
Key words: dynamo / stars: activity / binaries: close / stars: low-mass / stars: rotation
© ESO 2018