Concept: Variable star
The Ancient Egyptians wrote Calendars of Lucky and Unlucky Days that assigned astronomically influenced prognoses for each day of the year. The best preserved of these calendars is the Cairo Calendar (hereafter CC) dated to 1244-1163 B.C. We have presented evidence that the 2.85 days period in the lucky prognoses of CC is equal to that of the eclipsing binary Algol during this historical era. We wanted to find out the vocabulary that represents Algol in the mythological texts of CC. Here we show that Algol was represented as Horus and thus signified both divinity and kingship. The texts describing the actions of Horus are consistent with the course of events witnessed by any naked eye observer of Algol. These descriptions support our claim that CC is the oldest preserved historical document of the discovery of a variable star. The period of the Moon, 29.6 days, has also been discovered in CC. We show that the actions of Seth were connected to this period, which also strongly regulated the times described as lucky for Heaven and for Earth. Now, for the first time, periodicity is discovered in the descriptions of the days in CC. Unlike many previous attempts to uncover the reasoning behind the myths of individual days, we discover the actual rules in the appearance and behaviour of deities during the whole year.
Astrophysical flows exhibit rich behaviour resulting from the interplay of different forms of energy-gravitational, thermal, magnetic and radiative. For magnetic cataclysmic variable stars, material from a late, main sequence star is pulled onto a highly magnetized (B>10 MG) white dwarf. The magnetic field is sufficiently large to direct the flow as an accretion column onto the poles of the white dwarf, a star subclass known as AM Herculis. A stationary radiative shock is expected to form 100-1,000 km above the surface of the white dwarf, far too small to be resolved with current telescopes. Here we report the results of a laboratory experiment showing the evolution of a reverse shock when both ionization and radiative losses are important. We find that the stand-off position of the shock agrees with radiation hydrodynamic simulations and is consistent, when scaled to AM Herculis star systems, with theoretical predictions.