M Bours

Madelon Bours 

University of Warwick

Orbital period variations in eclipsing white dwarf binaries

In recent years the numbers of known eclipsing white dwarf + M dwarf, Cataclysmic Variables and double white dwarf binaries has grown dramatically. The small relative size of the white dwarf allows for timing of the eclipses with an accuracy down to 0.1 seconds. Using Liverpool Telescope + RISE camera observations supplemented with high time-resolution ULTRACAM data we are monitoring almost 50 white dwarf binaries. These and other observations reveal that most of the well enough studied binaries show deviations from a constant orbital period. Currently, the two most popular explanations include magnetic variability in the secondary star and the presence of circumbinary planetary companions. I will introduce several systems and their remarkable orbital period variations. Some of these variations deviate far more than could be expected from magnetic variability. For others planetary companions have been proposed, but the systems were later shown to be dynamically unstable. And for others still new observations are in excellent agreement with predictions from planetary models.

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