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2010MNRAS.405.1930L - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 405, 1930-1939 (2010/July-1)

The most plausible explanation of the cyclic period changes in close binaries: the case of the RS CVn-type binary WW Dra.

LIAO W.-P. and QIAN S.-B.

Abstract (from CDS):

Cyclic period changes are a fairly common phenomenon in close binary systems and are usually explained as being caused either by the magnetic activity of one or both components or by the light travel time effect (LTTE) of a third body. We searched the orbital period changes in 182 EA-type (including the 101 Algol systems used by Hall), 43 EB-type and 53 EW-type binaries with known mass ratio and spectral type of the secondary component. We reproduced and improved the diagram in Hall according to the new collected data. Our plots do not support the conclusion derived by Hall that cyclic period changes are restricted to binaries having a secondary component with spectral type later than F5. The presence of period changes among systems with a secondary component of early type indicates that magnetic activity is one, but not the only, cause of the period variation. It is discovered that cyclic period changes, probably resulting from the presence of a third body, are more frequent in EW-type binaries among close systems. Therefore, the most plausible explanation of the cyclic period changes is the LTTE through the presence of a third body. Using the century-long historical record of the times of light minimum, we analysed the cyclic period change in the Algol binary WW Dra. It is found that the orbital period of the binary shows a ∼112.2-yr cyclic variation with an amplitude of ∼0.1977d. The cyclic oscillation can be attributed to the LTTE by means of a third body with a mass no less than 6.43M. However, no spectral lines of the third body were discovered, indicating that it may be a candidate black hole. The third body is orbiting the binary at a distance closer than 14.4 au and may play an important role in the evolution of this system.

Abstract Copyright: © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS

Journal keyword(s): methods: statistical - binaries: close - binaries: eclipsing - stars: individual: WW Dra - stars: late-type

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/MNRAS/405/1930): table1.dat table2.dat table3.dat table5.dat refs.dat>

Simbad objects: 281

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