The unusual 2006 dwarf nova outburst of GK Persei
journal contributionposted on 2012-10-24, 09:21 authored by P. A. Evans, A. P. Beardmore, J. P. Osborne, G. A. Wynn
The 2006 outburst of GK Persei differed significantly at optical and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths from typical outbursts of this object. We present multiwavelength (X-ray, UV and optical) Swift and AAVSO data, giving unprecedented broad-band coverage of the outburst, allowing us to follow the evolution of the longer-than-normal 2006 outburst across these wavelengths. In the optical and UV we see a triple-peaked morphology with maximum brightness ∼1.5 mag lower than in previous years. In contrast, the peak hard X-ray flux is the same as in previous outbursts. We resolve this dichotomy by demonstrating that the hard X-ray flux only accounts for a small fraction of the total energy liberated during accretion, and interpret the optical/UV outburst profile as arising from a series of heating and cooling waves traversing the disc, caused by its variable density profile.
CitationMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2009, 399 (3), pp. 1167-1174
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