Astrophys. J., Suppl. Ser., 212, 4 (2014/May-0)
Optical flares and a long-lived dark spot on a cool shallow contact binary.
QIAN S.-B., WANG J.-J., ZHU L.-Y., SNOONTHORNTHUM B., WANG L.-Z., ZHAO E.G., ZHOU X., LIAO W.-P. and LIU N.-P.
Abstract (from CDS):
W UMa-type stars are contact systems where both cool components fill the critical Roche lobes and share a common convective envelope. Long and unbroken time-series photometry is expected to play an important role in their origin and activity. The newly discovered short-period W UMa-type star, CSTAR 038663, was monitored continuously by Chinese Small Telescope ARray (CSTAR) in Antarctica during the winters of 2008 and 2010. There were 15 optical flares recorded in the i band during the winter of 2010. This was the first time such flares were detected from a W UMa-type star. By analyzing the nearly unbroken photometric data from 2008, it is discovered that CSTAR 038663 is a W-type shallow contact binary system (f = 10.6(± 2.9)%) with a high mass ratio of q = 1.12(± 0.01), where the less massive component is slightly hotter than the more massive one. The asymmetric light curves are explained by the presence of a dark spot on the more massive component. Its temperature is about 800 K lower than the stellar photosphere and it covers 2.1% of the total photospheric surface. The lifetime of the dark spot is longer than 116 days. Using 725 eclipse times, we found that the observed-calculated (O-C) curve may show a cyclic variation that is explained by the presence of a close-in third body. Both the shallow contact configuration and the extremely high mass ratio suggest that CSTAR 038663 is presently evolving into a contact system with little mass transfer. The formation and evolution is driven by the loss of angular momentum via magnetic braking, and the close-in companion star is expected to play an important role, removing angular momentum from the central eclipsing binary.
binaries: close - binaries: eclipsing - stars: activity - stars: evolution - stars: individual: CSTAR 038663
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