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See detailReturn of the King: Time-Series Photometry of FO Aquarii's Initial Recovery from its Unprecedented 2016 Low State
Littlefield, Colin; Garnavich, Peter; Kennedy, Mark et al

in The Astrophysical Journal (2016), 883(93), 7

In 2016 May, the intermediate polar FO~Aqr was detected in a low state for the first time in its observational history. We report time-resolved photometry of the system during its initial recovery from ... [more ▼]

In 2016 May, the intermediate polar FO~Aqr was detected in a low state for the first time in its observational history. We report time-resolved photometry of the system during its initial recovery from this faint state. Our data, which includes high-speed photometry with cadences of just 2 sec, shows the existence of very strong periodicities at 22.5 min and 11.26 min, equivalent to the spin-orbit beat frequency and twice its value, respectively. A pulse at the spin frequency is also present but at a much lower amplitude than is normally observed in the bright state. By comparing our power spectra with theoretical models, we infer that a substantial amount of accretion was stream-fed during our observations, in contrast to the disk-fed accretion that dominates the bright state. In addition, we find that FO~Aqr's rate of recovery has been unusually slow in comparison to rates of recovery seen in other magnetic cataclysmic variables, with an e-folding time of 115±7 days. The recovery also shows irregular variations in the median brightness of as much as 0.2~mag over a 10-day span. Finally, we show that the arrival times of the spin pulses are dependent upon the system's overall brightness. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Search for Worlds Like Our Own
Fridlund, Malcolm; Eiroa, Carlos; Henning, Thomas et al

in Astrobiology (2010), 10(1), 5-17

The direct detection of Earth-like exoplanets orbiting nearby stars and the characterization of such planets -- particularly, their evolution, their atmospheres, and their ability to host life ... [more ▼]

The direct detection of Earth-like exoplanets orbiting nearby stars and the characterization of such planets -- particularly, their evolution, their atmospheres, and their ability to host life -- constitute a significant problem. The quest for other worlds as abodes of life has been one of mankind's great questions for several millennia. For instance, as stated by Epicurus 300 BC: Other worlds, with plants and other living things, some of them similar and some of them different from ours, must exist. Demokritos from Abdera (460-370 BC), the man who invented the concept of indivisible small parts - atoms - also held the belief that other worlds exist around the stars and that some of these worlds may be inhabited by life-forms. The idea of the plurality of worlds and of life on them has since been held by scientists like Johannes Kepler and William Herschel, among many others. Here, one must also mention Giordano Bruno. Born in 1548, Bruno studied in France and came into contact with the teachings of Nicolas Copernicus. He wrote the book De l'Infinito, Universo e Mondi in 1584, in which he claimed that the Universe was infinite, that it contained an infinite amount of worlds like Earth, and that these worlds were inhabited by intelligent beings. At the time, this was extremely controversial, and eventually Bruno was arrested by the church and burned at the stake in Rome in 1600, as a heretic, for promoting this and other equally confrontational issues (though it is unclear exactly which idea was the one that ultimately brought him to his end). In all the aforementioned cases, the opinions and results were arrived at through reasoning--not by experiment. We have only recently acquired the technological capability to observe planets orbiting stars other than 6our Sun; acquisition of this capability has been a remarkable feat of our time. We show in this introduction to the Habitability Primer that mankind is at the dawning of an age when, by way of the scientific method and 21st-century technology, we will be able to answer this fascinating controversial issue that has persisted for at least 2500 years. [less ▲]

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