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Journal Article

A 15.7-minAM CVn binary discovered in K2


Bell,  Keaton J.
Max Planck Research Group in Stellar Ages and Galactic Evolution (SAGE), Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Green, M. J., Hermes, J. J., Marsh, T. R., Steeghs, D. T. H., Bell, K. J., Littlefair, S. P., et al. (2018). A 15.7-minAM CVn binary discovered in K2. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 477(4), 5646-5656. doi:10.1093/mnras/sty1032.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-C295-9
We present the discovery of SDSS J135154.46−064309.0, a short-period variable observed using 30-mincadence photometry in K2 Campaign 6. Follow-up spectroscopy and high-speed photometry support a classification as a new member of the rare class of ultracompact accreting binaries known as AM CVn stars. The spectroscopic orbital period of 15.65 ± 0.12 min makes this system the fourth-shortest-period AM CVn known, and the second system of this type to be discovered by the Kepler spacecraft. The K2 data show photometric periods at 15.7306 ± 0.0003 min, 16.1121 ± 0.0004 min, and 664.82 ± 0.06 min, which we identify as the orbital period, superhump period, and disc precession period, respectively. From the superhump and orbital periods we estimate the binary mass ratio q = M2/M1= 0.111 ± 0.005, though this method of mass ratio determination may not be well calibrated for helium-dominated binaries. This system is likely to be a bright foreground source of gravitational waves in the frequency range detectable by Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, and may be of use as a calibration source if future studies are able to constrain the masses of its stellar components.