Three fundamental periods in an 87 year light curve of the symbiotic star MWC 560

Elia M. Leibowitz, Liliana Formiggini

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We construct a visual light curve of the symbiotic star MWC covering the last 87 years of its history. The data were assembled from the literature and from the AAVSO data bank. Most of the periodic components of the system brightness variation can be accounted for by the operation of three basic clocks of the periods P1 = 19,000 days, P2 = 1943 days, and P3 = 722 days. These periods can plausibly, and consistently with the observations, be attributed to three physical mechanisms in the system: the working of a solar-like magnetic dynamo cycle in the outer layers of the giant star of the system, the binary orbit cycle, and the sidereal rotation cycle of the giant star. MWC 560 is the seventh symbiotic star with historical light curves that reveal similar basic characteristics of the systems. The light curves of all these stars are well interpreted on the basis of the current understanding of the physical processes that are the major sources of the optical luminosity of these symbiotic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • binaries: symbiotic
  • stars: individual (MWC 560)


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