Rapid radio flaring during an anomalous outburst of SS Cyg
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This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
The connection between accretion and jet production in accreting white dwarf binary systems, especially dwarf novae, is not well understood. Radio wavelengths provide key insights into the mechanisms responsible for accelerating electrons, including jets and outflows. Here, we present densely sampled radio coverage, obtained with the Arcminute MicroKelvin Imager Large Array, of the dwarf nova SS Cyg during its 2016 February anomalous outburst. The outburst displayed a slower rise (3 dmag-1) in the optical than typical ones and lasted for more than three weeks. Rapid radio flaring on time-scales <1 h was seen throughout the outburst. The most intriguing behaviour in the radio was towards the end of the outburst where a fast, luminous ('giant'), flare peaking at ~20 mJy and lasting for 15 min was observed. This is the first time that such a flare has been observed in SS Cyg and insufficient coverage could explain its non-detection in previous outbursts. These data, together with past radio observations, are consistent with synchrotron emission from plasma ejection events as being the origin of the radio flares. However, the production of the giant flare during the declining accretion rate phase remains unexplained within the standard accretion-jet framework and appears to be markedly different to similar patterns of behaviour in X-ray binaries.
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