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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Kieran O'Brien

Szypryt, P., Duggan, G. E., Mazin, B. A., Meeker, S. R., Strader, M. J., van Eyken, J. C., Marsden, D., O'Brien, K., Walter, A. B., Ulbricht, G., Prince, T. A., Stoughton, C. & Bumble, B. (2014). Direct detection of SDSS J0926+3624 orbital expansion with ARCONS. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 439(3): 2765-2770.

Author(s) from Durham


AM Canum Venaticorum (AM CVn) stars belong to a class of ultracompact, short-period binaries with spectra dominated largely by helium. SDSS J0926+3624 is of particular interest as it is the first observed eclipsing AM CVn system. We observed SDSS J0926+3624 with the Array Camera for Optical to Near-IR Spectrophotometry (ARCONS) at the Palomar 200″ telescope. ARCONS uses a relatively new type of energy-resolved photon counters called Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors. ARCONS, sensitive to radiation from 350 to 1100 nm, has a time resolution of several microseconds and can measure the energy of a photon to ∼10 per cent. We present the light curves for these observations and examine changes in orbital period from prior observations. Using a quadratic ephemeris model, we measure a period rate of change Ṗ = (3.07 ± 0.56) × 10−13. In addition, we use the high timing resolution of ARCONS to examine the system's high-frequency variations and search for possible quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs). Finally, we use the instrument's spectral resolution to examine the light curves in various wavelength bands. We do not find any high-frequency QPOs or significant spectral variability throughout an eclipse.