SuperWASP observations of long timescale photometric variations in cataclysmic variables

Thomas, N. L.; Norton, A. J.; Pollacco, D.; West, R. G.; Wheatley, P. J.; Enoch, B. and Clarkson, W. I. (2010). SuperWASP observations of long timescale photometric variations in cataclysmic variables. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 514, article no. A30.



Aims. We investigated whether the predictions and results of Stanishev et al. (2002, A&A, 394, 625) concerning a possible relationship between eclipse depths in PX And and its retrograde disc precession phase, could be confirmed in long term observations made by SuperWASP. In addition, two further CVs (DQ Her and V795 Her) in the same SuperWASP data set were investigated to see whether evidence of superhump periods and disc precession periods were present and what other, if any, long term periods could be detected.

Methods. Long term photometry of PX And, V795 Her and DQ Her was carried out and Lomb-Scargle periodogram analysis undertaken on the resulting light curves. For the two eclipsing CVs, PX And and DQ Her, we analysed the potential variations in the depth of the eclipse with cycle number.

Results. The results of our period and eclipse analysis on PX And confirm that the negative superhump period is 0.1417 ± 0.0001d. We find no evidence of positive superhumps in our data suggesting that PX And may have been in a low state during our observations. We improve on existing estimates of the disc precession period and find it to be 4.43 ± 0.05d. Our results confirm the predictions of Stanishev et al. (2002). We find that DQ Her does not appear to show a similar variation for we find no evidence of negative superhumps or of a retrograde disc precession. We also find no evidence of positive superhumps or of a prograde disc precession and we attribute the lack of positive superhumps in DQ Her to be due to the high mass ratio of this CV. We do however find evidence for a modulation of the eclipse depth over a period of 100 days which may be linked with solar-type magnetic cycles which give rise to long term photometric variations. The periodogram analysis for V795 Her detected the likely positive superhump period 0.1165d, however, neither the 0.10826d orbital period nor the prograde 1.53d disc precession period were seen. Here though we have found a variation in the periodogram power function at the positive superhump period, over a period of at least 120 days.

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