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!
Prepared By: Matthew Templeton