Over six years of operation, the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey (CRTS) has identified 1043 cataclysmic variable (CV) candidates --- the largest sample of CVs from a single survey to date. Here we provide spectroscopic identification of 85 systems fainter than g<19, including three AMCVn binaries, one helium-enriched CV, one polar and one new eclipsing CV. We analyse the outburst properties of the full sample and show that it contains a large fraction of low accretion rate CVs with long outburst recurrence times. We argue that most of the high accretion rate dwarf novae in the survey footprint have already been found and that future CRTS discoveries will be mostly low accretion rate systems. We find that CVs with white dwarf dominated spectra have significantly fewer outbursts in their CRTS light curves compared to disc-dominated CVs, reflecting the difference in their accretion rates. Comparing the CRTS sample to other samples of CVs, we estimate the overall external completeness to be 23.6 per cent, but show that as much as 56 per cent of CVs have variability amplitudes that are too small to be selected using the transient selection criteria employed by current ground-based surveys. The full table of CRTS CVs, including their outburst and spectroscopic properties examined in this paper, is provided in the online materials.
Authors: E. Breedt (1), B.T. Gaensicke (1), A.J. Drake (2), P. Rodriguez-Gil (3 and 4), S.G. Parsons (5), T.R. Marsh (1), P. Szkody (6), M.R. Schreiber (5), S.G. Djorgovski (2) ((1) University of Warwick, UK, (2) California Institute of Technology, USA, (3) Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Spain, (4) Universidad de La Laguna, Spain, (5) Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile, (6) University of Washington, USA)
In the middle of the 19th century, the massive binary system Eta Carinae underwent an eruption that ejected at least 10 times the sun's mass and made it the second-brightest star in the sky. Now, a team of astronomers has used extensive new observations to create the first high-resolution 3-D model of the expanding cloud produced by this outburst.
"Our model indicates that this vast shell of gas and dust has a more complex origin than is generally assumed," said Thomas Madura, a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a member of the study team. "For the first time, we see evidence suggesting that intense interactions between the stars in the central binary played a significant role in sculpting the nebula we see today."
EE Cep is a unique system in which a Be star is eclipsed by a dark dusty disk, making this star similar to the famous epsilon Aur in many respects. The depth and the duration of the EE Cep eclipses change to a large extent. The last two eclipses were observed in the framework of extensive international campaigns. The joint analysis of these campaigns data and historical photometry, enabled us to propose a model of this system, which implies a disk precession with a period approximately 11-12 times larger than the orbital period. This model predicts that the forthcoming eclipse should be among the deepest observed, reaching about 2 mag. The next eclipse approaches - the photometric minimum should occur around August 23, 2014. Here we would like to announce a new, third international campaign with purpose to verify the disk precession model and to put more constraints on the physical parameters of this system.
Authors: C. Galan, P. Wychudzki, M. Mikolajewski, T. Tomov, D. Dimitrov
An international team of astronomers using data from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray observatory has developed a powerful technique for analyzing supernova remnants, the expanding clouds of debris left behind when stars explode. The method provides scientists with a way to quickly identify the type of explosion and offers insights into the environment surrounding the star before its destruction.
“Supernovae imprint their remnants with X-ray evidence that reveals the nature of the explosion and its surroundings,” said lead researcher Hiroya Yamaguchi, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Thanks to Suzaku, we are now learning how to interpret these signals.”
The technique involves observing specific X-ray emissions from iron atoms in the core of supernova remnants. Even after thousands of years, these atoms remain extremely hot, stripped of most of the 26 electrons that accompany iron atoms under normal conditions on Earth. The metal is formed in the centers of shattered stars toward the end of their energy-producing lives and in their explosive demise, which makes it a key witness to stellar death.
Read the full press release with links to the paper here.