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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2015-02-12
    Description: We study the mid-egress eclipse timing data gathered for the cataclysmic binary HU Aquarii during the years 1993–2014. The (O–C) residuals were previously attributed to a single ~7 Jupiter mass companion in ~5 au orbit or to a stable two-planet system with an unconstrained outermost orbit. We present 22 new observations gathered between 2011 June and 2014 July with four instruments around the world. They reveal a systematic deviation of ~60–120 s from the older ephemeris. We re-analyse the whole set of the timing data available. Our results provide an erratum to the previous HU Aqr planetary models, indicating that the hypothesis for a third and fourth body in this system is uncertain. The dynamical stability criterion and a particular geometry of orbits rule out coplanar two-planet configurations. A putative HU Aqr planetary system may be more complex, e.g. highly non-coplanar. Indeed, we found examples of three-planet configurations with the middle planet in a retrograde orbit, which are stable for at least 1 Gyr, and consistent with the observations. The (O–C) may be also driven by oscillations of the gravitational quadrupole moment of the secondary, as predicted by the Lanza et al. modification of the Applegate mechanism. Further systematic, long-term monitoring of HU Aqr is required to interpret the (O–C) residuals.
    Print ISSN: 0035-8711
    Electronic ISSN: 1365-2966
    Topics: Physics
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