(cba:news) orbital light curves of novae

Joe Patterson jop at astro.columbia.edu
Sat Dec 2 13:37:51 EST 2017

Dear CBAers,

We have enough now for V Per and QZ Aur.  Lots of eclipses, and 
sufficient coverage around the orbits to define the shape very nicely.

These are pretty faint stars.  I was very surprised to see what a good 
job you guys can do with them - basically *better* than is done with 2-4 
meter telescopes.  The latter have much higher signal/noise PER POINT, 
but because they are also tainted by flickering, the persistent orbital 
light curve is MASKED.  The CBA light curves are quite superior in 
defining the mean shape... and that shape is one of the keys to 
understanding the structure of the binary.

These comments apply mainly to old novae.  The dwarf novae are a 
different story; since they wander between high-, low-, and 
medium-accretion states, the "average" light curve is not well-defined.

Anyway, for us, it's worth stressing:

Frequent long-night coverage of old novae is a great project - including 
even the recent ones.  "Old" meaning at least, say, 3 magnitudes down 
from max... but it's not impossible that interesting periodic signals 
could be found even near max.

Seasonally appropriate old novae are: V959 Mon, T Pyx, CP Pup, RR Pic, 
and DN Gem.  As usual, it's best to pound one of them senseless... 
rather than scattering the coverage.

Other stars.  We're quitting on WZ Sge.  Another 1-2 weeks is probably 
goof for FO Aqr, but not after that.  And I think AO Psc is done for the 
year, too.


For rhe DQ Hers, I especially recommend HZ Pup, HT Cam, and DW Cnc.  But 
as usual, we *always* like timing observations of DQ Her stars.

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