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Cataclysmic Variables

Try this!

Obtain two balloons, one larger in diameter than the other. Label the smaller one - white dwarf and the larger one - star. Insert a plastic straw (approximately 5-6 inches long) in the mouth of the larger balloon. Blow it up through the straw. Use a clamp to close the balloon keeping the straw in place. Next attach the smaller balloon to the other end of the straw. Slightly release the clamp from the larger balloon, while holding the mouth of the smaller balloon firmly in place around the straw.

What do you observe?

What property of cataclysmic variables is demonstrated in this activity?

The Solution


This activity was developed by Jacqueline Slay, Largo High School, Largo, MD

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Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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This page last updated: Wednesday, 17-Nov-2004 15:33:04 EST