Institution(s): 1. University of Southern California
Four years of Kepler observations have revealed a class of Algol-type binaries in which the relative brightness of the quadrature light varies from > 1 to <1 on a time scale of about 100-400 days. The behavior pattern is quasi-periodic. We call these systems L/T (leading hemisphere/ trailing hemisphere) variables. Although L/T inequality in eclipsing binaries has been noted from ground-based photometry by several observers since the early 1950s, the regular or quasi-regular switching between maxima is new. Twenty L/T systems have so far been found in the Kepler database and at least three classes of L/T behavior have been identified. In this presentation I will give an update on the L/T phenomenon gleaned from the Kepler and K2 databases. The Kepler and K2 light curves are being analyzed with the 2015 version of the Wilson-Devinney (WD) program that includes major improvements in modeling star spots (i.e. spot motions due to drift and stellar rotation and spot growth and decay). The prototype L/T variable is WX Draconis (A8V + K0IV, P=1.80 d) which shows L/ T light variations of 2-3%. The primary is a delta Scuti star with a dominant pulsation period of 41 m. Preliminary analysis of the WX Dra data suggests that the L/T variability can be fit with either an accretion hot spot on the primary (T = 2.3 Tphot) that jumps in longitude or a magnetic cool spotted region on the secondary. If the latter model is correct the dark region must occupy at least 20% of the surface of the facing hemisphere of the secondary if it is completely black, or a larger area if not completely black. In both hot and cool spot scenarios magnetic fields must play a role in the activity. Support from NASA grants NNX11AC78G and NNX12AE44G and USC’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program is greatly appreciated.