The giant star of the symbiotic system YY Her: Rotation, tidal wave, solar-type cycle and spots

Liliana Formiggini*, Elia M. Leibowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyse the historical light curve of the symbiotic star YY Her, from 1890 up to 2005 December. A secular declining trend is detected, at a rate of ∼.01 mag in 1000 d, suggesting that the system could belong to the subclass of symbiotic novae. Several outburst events are superposed on this slow decline. Three independent periodicities are identified in the light curve. A quasi-periodicity of 4650.7 d is detected for the outburst occurrence. We suggest that it is a signature of a solar-type magnetic dynamo cycle in the giant component. A period of 593.2 d modulates the quiescent light curve and it is identified as the binary period of the system. During outburst events, the system shows a stable periodic oscillation of 551.4 d. We suggest that it is the rotation period of the giant. The secondary minima detected at some epochs of quiescence are probably due to dark spots on the surface of the rotating giant. The difference between the frequencies of these two last periods is the frequency of a tidal wave in the outer layers of the giant. A period which is a beat between the magnetic cycle and the tidal wave period is also apparent in the light curve. YY Her is a third symbiotic system exhibiting these cycles in their light curve, suggesting that a magnetic dynamo process is prevalent in the giant components of symbiotic stars, playing an important role in the outburst mechanism of some of these systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1325-1332
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Binaries: symbiotic
  • Stars: Magnetic fields
  • Stars: Oscillations
  • Stars: individual: YY Her


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