what are CVs? back to top next page

  • Cataclysmic variables (CVs) are semi-detached binaries consisting of a Roche-lobe filling secondary star transferring mass to a white dwarf primary star via an accretion disc or magnetic accretion stream.

  • CVs are characterised by their cataclysmic (i.e. violent but non-destructive) eruptions; the novae, recurrent novae, dwarf novae and
    nova-likes are all classes of CV.