Complex long-term activity of the post-nova X Serpentis★
Astronomical Institute, The Czech Academy of Sciences,
Ondřejov, Czech Republic
2 Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, 16627 Prague, Czech Republic
Accepted: 5 March 2018
Aims. X Ser is a cataclysmic variable (CV) which erupted as a classical nova in 1903. In this work we use over 100 years of photometry to characterize the long-term light curve of X Ser, with the aim of interpreting the post-nova activity in X Ser in the context of behaviors in other old novae.
Methods. This analysis of its long-term optical activity uses the data from the Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard (DASCH), AAVSO, and Catalina Real-time Transient Survey databases, supplemented by the data of other authors.
Results. We show that X Ser displays a strong complex activity with the characteristics of various CV types after the return to quiescence from its classical nova outburst. Both nova-like and dwarf nova (DN) features are present. The decaying branches of the individual post-nova outbursts display large mutual similarities and obey the Bailey law for outbursts of DNe. These outbursts of X Ser constitute a uniform group (inside-out outbursts), and their decaying branches can be explained by propagation of cooling front through the accretion disk. In the interpretation, X Ser rapidly transitioned to a thermal-viscous instability regime of the disk, initially only intermittently. The occurrence of the DN outbursts shortly after the end of the nova outburst suggests that the mass transfer rate into the disk was usually not sufficiently high to prevent a thermal-viscous instability of this post-nova. The very long orbital period, and hence large accretion disk of X Ser can contribute to this.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / radiation mechanisms: general / novae, cataclysmic variables / dwarf novae / circumstellar matter / individual: X Ser
© ESO 2018