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Are symbiotic stars dwarf novae?


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Symbiotic stars are a class of interacting binaries consisting of similar or dissimilar components, characterised by the transfer of mass between those components in a number of different ways. Only in some of these systems, do dwarf novae effects occur. If the system happens to consist of maybe a red giant (contributor) and a white dwarf (consumer), and conditions are favourable for mass transfer to occur in the form of an accretion disk, then instabilities within the disk may result in material being sporadically dumped on to the surface of the white dwarf, causing an outburst of gravitational energy. However, even in this situation, if the accretion rate is high, the process may be stable, and no such outbursts will be detected.

So, I would suggest that they are not the same thing. That dwarf novae are a characteristic of certain, but by no means all symbiotic binary systems.

Ray

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