Cataclysmic variable stars

Alternative definitions (1), class: vernacular (0)
Term: Cataclysmic variable stars

A variable star that shows a sudden and dramatic change in brightness, including flare stars, novae, and some types of symbiotic stars. They are believed to be very close binary systems consisting of an accreting white dwarf primary and an evolved late-type secondary star that has filled its Roche lobe. For systems with an accretion disk, it is believed that a thermal instability is the cause of repetitive outbursts observed in cataclysmic variables called dwarf novae.

Created 2023.04.16
Last Modified 2023.04.16
Contributed by Ryan McGranaghan