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Classifying optical (out)bursts in cataclysmic variables: the distinct observational characteristics of dwarf novae, micronovae, stellar flares and magnetic gating

Krystian IlkiewiczSimone ScaringiMartina Veresvarska ...+4 Anwesha Sahu
Feb 2024
Cataclysmic variables can experience short optical brightenings, which are commonly attributed to phenomena such as dwarf novae outbursts, micronovae, donor flares or magnetic gating bursts. Since these events exhibit similar observational characteristics, their identification has often been ambiguous. In particular, magnetic gating bursts and micronovae have been suggested as alternative interpretations of the same phenomena. Here we show that the timescales and energies separate the optical brightenings into separate clusters consistent with their different classifications. This suggest that micronovae and magnetic gating bursts are in fact separate phenomena. Based on our finding we develop diagnostic diagrams that can distinguish between these bursts/flares based on their properties. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach on observations of a newly identified intermediate polar, CTCV J0333-4451, which we classify as a magnetic gating system. CTCV J0333-4451 is the third high spin-to-orbital period ratio intermediate polar with magnetic gating, suggesting that these bursts are common among these rare systems.
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