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WW Ceti

What on Earth is going on with WW Cet?

This star had long been catalogued as a Z Camelopardalis (Z Cam)-type dwarf novae, despite not exhibiting one of the hallmarks of the Z Cam class, the standstill between outburst and quiescence.  Then within the past few years, it finally did exhibit a somewhat surprising standstill.  But since then, it's just gotten weird.   The data for the 2011 season seemed to exhibit some half-hearted outbursts, but close inspection of the light curve looks more like the star just didn't know what to do with itself, including what appears to be a decline toward quiescence.  Now in the 2012 season data, it's looking very strange, almost as strange as another odd Z Cam star, RX Andromedae.  The star has not only returned to quiescence, it's gone fainter than its historic quiescent level, suggesting it might be exhibiting a low state like the VY Sculptoris stars.  It's too soon to say whether WW Cet might also be exhibiting a VY Scl low like RX Andromedae did several years ago, but WW Cet should absolutely be a part of everyone's long-term monitoring programs.  This is a star worth paying attention to!

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