• accretion, accretion discs;
  • binaries: close;
  • stars: individual: CP Eridani;
  • novae, cataclysmic variables;
  • white dwarfs


We report photometric periodicities in the AM CVn system CP Eridani (CP Eri) of 1716.2 ± 0.2 and 1701.4 ± 0.2 s, obtained while the system was in quiescence. From a second observation obtained during superoutburst, we interpret the 1716-s signal as a superhump period (Psh) and the 1701-s signal as the orbital period (Porb) of the binary. The derived fractional superhump period excess ɛ adds CP Eri to a small collection of AM CVn stars with ɛ measured via time-series photometry of superhump and orbital periods. Plotting ɛ(Porb) for these systems, we find that AM CVn systems may, as expected, be evolving towards longer Porb. We discuss a technique of using ɛ to determine the degree of degeneracy of the donor star in a contact binary, and we show that for the AM CVn systems, the donor stars are well described by mass–radius relations of partially-degenerate objects.