Flickering, and more specifically aperiodic broad-band variability, is an important phenomenon used in understanding the geometry and dynamics of accretion flows. Although the inner regions of accretion flows are known to generate variability on relatively fast time-scales, the broad-band variability generated in the outer regions has mostly remained elusive due to its long intrinsic variability time-scales. Ultracompact AM CVn systems are relatively small when compared to other accreting binaries and are well suited to search and characterize low-frequency variability. Here, we present the first low-frequency power spectral analysis of the ultracompact accreting white dwarf system SDSS J1908+3940. The analysis reveals a low-frequency break at ∼6.8 × 10−7 Hz in the time-averaged power spectrum as well as a second higher frequency component with characteristic frequency of ∼1.3 × 10−4 Hz. We associate both components with the viscous time-scales within the disc through empirical fits to the power spectrum as well as analytical fits using the fluctuating accretion disc model. Our results show that the low-frequency break can be associated with the outer disc regions of a geometrically thin accretion flow. The detection of the low-frequency break in SDSS J1908+3940 provides a precedent for further detection of similar features in other ultracompact accreting systems. More importantly, it provides a new observable that can help constrain simulations of accretion flows.
Veresvarska, M., & Scaringi, S. (2022). Outer disc edge: properties of low-frequency aperiodic variability in ultracompact interacting binaries. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 518(4), 5576-5589. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac3470