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Keywords:

  • accretion, accretion disks;
  • novae, cataclysmic variables;
  • stars: activity;
  • stars: individual (TTAri)

Abstract

Variability on all time scales between seconds and decades is typical for cataclysmic variables (CVs). One of the brightest and best studied CVs is TT Ari, a nova-like variable which belongs to the VY Scl subclass, characterized by occasional low states in their light curves. It is also known as a permanent superhumper at high state, revealing “positive” (PS > P0) as well as “negative” (PS < P0) superhumps, where PS is the period of the superhump and P0 the orbital period. TT Ari was observed by the Canadian space telescope MOST for about 230 hours nearly continuously in 2007, with a time resolution of 48 seconds. Here we analyze these data, obtaining a dominant “negative” superhump signal with a period PS = 0.1331 days and a mean amplitude of 0.09 mag. Strong flickering with amplitudes up to 0.2 mag and peak-to-peak time scales of 15–20 minutes is superimposed on the periodic variations. We found no indications for significant quasi-periodic oscillations with periods around 15 minutes, reported by other authors. We discuss the known superhump behaviour of TTAri during the last five decades and conclude that our period value is at the upper limit of all hitherto determined “negative” superhump periods of TTAri, before and after the MOST run. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)