what are cataclysmic variables? back to top next page

  • There are approximately 8000 stars visible to the naked eye from the earth.

  • Over half of them consist of two or more bodies locked in gravitationally bound orbits.

  • About half of them, in turn, consist of interacting binaries where the two component stars are unable to complete their normal evolution without being influenced by the presence of the other.

  • One class of close binary are the cataclysmic variables (CVs), whose members include the novae, recurrent novae, dwarf novae and novalikes.