The brightness variations and orbital period changes of RT Lacertae
Ege University Observatory, Bornova, İzmir, Turkey e-mail: ibanoglu, sevren, tas, devlen, email@example.com
Corresponding author: C. İbanoǧlu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 20 February 2001
The light curves of the chromospherically active eclipsing binary RT Lacertae obtained from 1993 to 1999 are analyzed here. The variation of the brightness at mid-eclipses and at maxima is carefully re-examined. The largest variation was obtained at mid-primary, where the more massive, hotter component occults the less massive cooler secondary star. Therefore, we suggest that the variation of the system's brightness mainly arises from the more massive star. The mean brightness of the system indicates a cyclic change. It showed at least two jumps during the last 22 years. The first occurred in 1984 and the second in 1994. Therefore, the length of the magnetic cycle appears to be about ten years. All the timings of the mid-eclipses obtained so far were collected and analyzed under the assumption of the third body hypothesis. A period of 94 yr was found for the third body orbit. The variation of the systemic velocity of the eclipsing pair seems to confirm this suggestion. The time delay and advance due to the orbit of the eclipsing pair around the third component were computed and subtracted from the original residuals obtained with the linear light elements. The remaining residuals also show a quasi-periodic change. The period of this change was calculated to be about 18 yr. This second O-C change may be related to the magnetic activity of the more massive component.
Key words: stars: activity / stars: individual: RT Lac; close binary / stars: binaries: eclipsing / stars: variable: general
© ESO, 2001