Journal Article

57-second oscillations in Nova Centauri 1986 (V842 Cen)

Patrick A. Woudt, Brian Warner, Julian Osborne and Kim Page

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 4, pages 2177-2182
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14668.x
57-second oscillations in Nova Centauri 1986 (V842 Cen)

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High-speed photometry in 2008 shows that the light curve of V842 Cen possesses a coherent modulation at 56.825 s, with sidebands at 56.598 and 57.054 s. These have appeared since this nova remnant was observed in 2000 and 2002. We deduce that the dominant signal is the rotation period of the white dwarf primary and the sidebands are caused by reprocessing from a surface moving with an orbital period of 3.94 h. Thus, V842 Cen is an intermediate polar (IP) of the DQ Herculis subclass, is the fastest rotating white dwarf among the IPs and is the third fastest known in a cataclysmic variable. As in other IPs, we see no dwarf nova oscillations, but there are often quasi-periodic oscillations in the range 350–1500 s. There is a strong brightness modulation with a period of 3.78 h, which we attribute to negative superhumps, and there is an even stronger signal at 2.886 h which is of unknown origin but is probably a further example of that seen in GW Lib and some other systems. We used the Swift satellite to observe V842 Cen in the ultraviolet and in X-rays, although no periodic modulation was detected in the short observations. The X-ray luminosity of this object appears to be much lower than that of other IPs in which the accretion region is directly visible.

Keywords: binaries: close; stars: individual: V842 Cen; novae, cataclysmic variables; stars: oscillations

Journal Article.  3689 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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