V803 Cen (CBA)

(vsnet 1013)


This helium cataclysmic variable continues to sport regular photometric waves at a period of 23.7 hours. The range is magnitude 14.8 to 13.4. There is also the usual display of 1611 s superhumps and other rapid activity, for which this star is famous (see O'Donoghue et al. 1987, MNRAS 227, 347). The maxima now occur over South America, but they move slowly around the globe.

They certainly *look* like dwarf nova outbursts. In particular, they look much like the "echo outbursts" which amazed us all from EG Cancri in December/January.

Which raises a question: did V803 Cen have a superoutburst (extended high state) recently? We observed one in December, but was there one more recently? (Can't have an echo without the main event first.) More generally, we'd like to learn more about the history of the visual magnitude; can anyone out there in VSNET-land help us?

How long will these outbursts, echo or otherwise, continue? Just how regular is the underlying clock? Won't you join us in trying to find out, by putting this fascinating star on your observing program? Some details are in our previous VSNET message (VSNET 1006). In a few days we'll post a 2-week light curve on our Website (www.astro.columbia.edu/~cba).

By the way, there are just two of these stars (apparent helium dwarf novae) in the entire sky - V803 Cen and CR Boo - and both are sparsely studied by visual observers. Definitely an opportunity here...

Joe Patterson, CBA-New York and SAAO                                 
Jonathan Kemp, CBA-New York
Stan Walker, CBA-New Zealand
Paddy McGee, CBA-Adelaide

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