First Unambiguous Detection of the Return of Pulsations in the Accreting White Dwarf SDSS J074531.92+453829.6 After an Outburst

Date
2011-02
Authors
Mukadam, Anjum S.
Townsley, D. M.
Szkody, P.
Gansicke, B. T.
Winget, D. E.
Hermes, J. J.
Howell, Steve B.
Teske, J.
Patterson, J.
Kemp, J.
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Abstract

The primary white dwarf of the cataclysmic variable SDSS J074531.92+453829.6 was discovered to exhibit non-radial pulsations in 2006 January. This accreting white dwarf underwent its first recorded dwarf nova outburst in 2006 October, during which its brightness increased by more than 5 mag. A Hubble Space Telescope (HST) ultraviolet spectrum, obtained one year after the outburst, revealed a white dwarf temperature of 16,500 K, hotter than all other known accreting white dwarf pulsators. This implies that the accreting primary white dwarf of SDSS J074531.92+453829.6 was heated to temperatures beyond the instability strip during the outburst. Optical observations acquired a year after the outburst did not reveal any evidence of pulsations, suggesting that the white dwarf had not cooled to quiescence by then. We recently acquired optical high-speed time-series photometry on this cataclysmic variable SDSS J074531.92+453829.6 more than three years after its outburst to find that pulsations have now returned to the primary white dwarf. Moreover, the observed pulsation periods agree with pre-outburst periods within the uncertainties of a few seconds. This discovery is significant because it indicates that the outburst did not affect the interior stellar structure, which governs the observed pulsation frequencies. It also suggests that the surface of the white dwarf has now cooled to quiescence. Using this discovery in addition to the prior HST temperature measurement of 16,500 K, we have been able to constrain the matter accreted during the 2006 outburst. This is the first time an accreting white dwarf was unambiguously observed to resume pulsating after an outburst.

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Citation
Mukadam, Anjum S., D. M. Townsley, Paula Szkody, Boris T. Gänsicke, Donald Earl Winget, J. J. Hermes, Steve B. Howell et al. "First unambiguous detection of the return of pulsations in the accreting white dwarf SDSS J074531. 92+ 453829.6 after an outburst." The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 728, No. 2 (Feb., 2011): L33.