The absence of Jets in cataclysmic variable stars

N. Soker*, J. P. Lasota

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We show that the recently developed thermal model which successfully describes how jets are launched by young stellar objects, when applied to system containing disk-accreting white dwarfs naturally explain the otherwise surprising absence of jets in cataclysmic variable stars. Our main argument uses the crucial element of the thermal model, namely that the accreted material is strongly shocked due to large gradients of physical quantities in the boundary layer, and then cools on a time scale longer than its ejection time from the disk. In our scenario the magnetic fields are weak, and serve only to recollimate the outflow at large distances from the source, or to initiate the shock, but not as a jet-driving agent. Using two criteria in that model, for the shock formation and for the ejection of mass, we find the mass accretion rate above which jets could be blown from accretion disks around young stellar objects and white dwarfs. We find that these accretion mass rates are M(YSO) ∼ 10-7 M· yr-1 and M(WD) ≳ 10-6 M· yr-1 for young stellar objects and white dwarfs respectively. Considering the uncertainties of the model, these limits could overestimate the critical value by a factor of ∼10.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1043
Number of pages5
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Stars: novae, cataclysmic variables
  • Stars: winds, outflows

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