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Astronomy and Astrophysics


Department of Physics and Astronomy


Close white dwarf - red dwarf binaries must have gone through a common-envelope phase during their evolution. DE CVn is a detached white dwarf - red dwarf binary with a relatively short (~8.7 hours) orbital period. Its brightness and the presence of eclipses makes this system ideal for a more detailed study. From a study of photometric and spectroscopic observations of DE CVn we derive the system parameters which we discuss in the frame work of common-envelope evolution. Photometric observations of the eclipses are used to determine an accurate ephemeris. From a model fit to an average low-resolution spectrum of DE CVn we constrain the temperature of the white dwarf and the spectral type of the red dwarf. The eclipse light curve is analysed and combined with the radial velocity curve of the red dwarf determined from time-resolved spectroscopy to derive constraints on the inclination and the masses of the components in the system.