Resumption of mass accretion in RS Oph

The latest outburst of the recurrent nova RS Oph occurred in 2006 February. Photometric data presented here show evidence of the resumption of optical flickering, indicating re-establishment of accretion by day 241 of the outburst. Magnitude variations of up to 0.32 mag in V band and 0.14 mag in B band on time-scales of 600–7000 s are detected. Over the two-week observational period, we also detect a 0.5 mag decline in the mean brightness, from V≈ 11.4 to 11.9, and record B≈ 12.9 mag. Limits on the mass accretion rate of Graphic are calculated, which span the range of accretion rates modelled for direct wind accretion and Roche lobe overflow mechanisms. The current accretion rates make it difficult for thermonuclear runaway models to explain the observed recurrence interval, and this implies average accretion rates are typically higher than seen immediately post-outburst.

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