Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 99, Issue 1–2, pp 101–125 | Cite as

Symbiotic stars

  • David A. Allen
Article

Abstract

I review our current knowledge of symbiotic stars. A great many papers have graced the literature in the fifty years of their study, and many data are available on the spectral variations at optical wavelengths these stars undergo. I do not give extensive references to those data, for previous reviews have done so quite adequately. Rather, I concentrate on the extensive widening of the wavebands within which symbiotic stars have been studied over the past few years, and attempt to synthesise the data into a coherent picture.

Symbiotic stars are most readily explained as interacting binaries, though single star models may still be tenable for some systems. They are made much more complex than most other interacting binaries by the variety of accreting stars, and because gas flows may be highly structured. Moreover, their study is more difficult than that of dwarf novae because the orbital periods are long compared to the activity cycles of the accretion phenomena.

Our data base has expanded enormously with our present spectral catholicism. But there remains much valuable work to be done with even simple equipment on small telescopes. I suggest in a final section areas for future work.

Keywords

Orbital Period Section Area Final Section Previous Review Activity Cycle 

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.Anglo-Australian ObservatoryEppingAustralia

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