MBCAA Observatory

AE Aqr

Observed: 13, 16, 17 Jun 2012

Michel Bonnardeau
21 Jun 2012


Time-series of this unusual cataclysmic star were obtained with B and V filters. Flares were observed, with the object becoming bluer.


AE Aqr is a cataclysmic star, that is a binary with an accreting white dwarf. The orbital period is 9.9h with a small inclination (no eclipse). AE Aqr shows an oscillation with a very short period of 33s, which is interpreted as the rotation period of the magnetic white dwarf.

I already observed it in 2005.

In 2012 AE Aqr is observed with the MAGIC atmospheric Cerenkov gamma ray telescope in the Canaries, and there is a call to amateur astronomers to monitor it simultaneously.


The setup is the same as in 2005: A 203 mm f/6.3 SC telescope, V and B filters used alternatively with a filter wheel and a SBIG ST7E camera (KAF401E CCD). The exposure durations were 200s with the B filter, 60s with the V filter. A total of 197 usable images were obtained (109 with the V filter, 88 with the B).

The comparison star is GSC 5177-01304 with V=9.930 and B=10.077 (the same as in 2005). The check star is GSC 5177-01044. I also observed HX Aqr, a suspected eclipsing variable, which may be constant.

The light curves:

Green full line: the V magnitudes of AE Aqr, blue: the B magnitudes shifted by -0.3mag, green dot line: the V magnitudes of the check star shifted by -0.2mag, blue: the B magnitudes also shifted by -0.2mag. The error bars are +/- the 1-sigma statistical uncertainties.

Flares are therefore observed during which the object becomes bluer.

For HX Aqr: I detect no variation.

Technical notes

Telescope and camera configuration.

Computer and software configuration.

Data processing.

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