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A Study of the Orbital Periods of Deeply Eclipsing SW Sextantis Stars

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David Boyd

5 Silver Lane, West Challow, Wantage, OX12 9TX, UK

Presented at the 100th Spring Meeting of the AAVSO, May 21, 2011; received February 13, 2012; revised March 23, 2012; accepted March 25, 2012

Abstract

Results are presented of a five-year project to study the orbital periods of eighteen deeply eclipsing novalike cataclysmic variables, collectively known as SW Sextantis stars, by combining new measurements of eclipse times with published measurements stretching back in some cases over fifty years. While the behavior of many of these binary systems is consistent with a constant orbital period, it is evident that in several cases this is not true. Although the time span of these observations is relatively short, evidence is emerging that the orbital periods of some of these stars show cyclical variation with periods in the range 10–40 years. The two stars with the longest orbital periods, V363 Aur and BT Mon, also show secular period reduction with rates of –6.6 × 10–8 days/year and –3.3 × 10–8 days/year. New ephemerides are provided for all eighteen stars to facilitate observation of future eclipses.

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