Revisiting the proposed planetary system orbiting the eclipsing polar HU Aquarii

Wittenmyer, Robert A. and Horner, J. and Marshall, J. P. and Butters, O. W. and Tinney, C. G. (2012) Revisiting the proposed planetary system orbiting the eclipsing polar HU Aquarii. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 419 (4). pp. 3258-3267. ISSN 0035-8711

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It has recently been proposed, on the basis of eclipse-timing data, that the eclipsing polar cataclysmic variable HU Aquarii is host to at least two giant planets. However, that result has been called into question based upon the dynamical stability of the proposed planets. In this work, we present a detailed re-analysis of all eclipse-timing data available for the HU Aquarii system, making use of standard techniques used to fit orbits to radial-velocity data. We find that the eclipse timings can be used to obtain a two-planet solution that does not require the presence of additional bodies within the system. We then perform a highly detailed dynamical analysis of the proposed planetary system. We show that the improved orbital parameters we have derived correspond to planets that are dynamically unstable on unfeasibly short time-scales (of the order of 10 4 yr or less). Given these results, we discuss briefly how the observed signal might in fact be the result of the intrinsic properties of the eclipsing polar, rather than being evidence of dynamically improbable planets. Taken in concert, our results highlight the need for caution in interpreting such timing variations as being planetary in nature.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2011 The Authors. This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 23:35
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2017 05:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: close binaries; eclipsing binaries; planetary systems; planets and satellites; dynamical evolution and stability; stars; HU Aqr; white dwarfs
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090609 Signal Processing
01 Mathematical Sciences > 0102 Applied Mathematics > 010204 Dynamical Systems in Applications
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19966.x

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