A comprehensive discussion of the period variations in this rapidly evolving interacting binary system leads to the following conclusions.
The period is monotonously decreasing at an average rate of 2.1 s yr−1, but the actual rate of decrease is not strictly constant. The rate of period variation can be adequately described as piecewise constant for time intervals of 10–30 yr. Transitions between such intervals of constant decrease rate can be accompanied for a short interval of time by very fast period changes: in 1975, the rate of decline approached and possibly surpassed −15 s yr−1. It seems natural to assume that these irregularities of the period variation are due to fluctuations in the mass exchange between the components and also the mass loss from the system, as suggested by UV observations.
KeywordsLight Curve Period Variation Quadratic Formula Triple System Secondary Minimum
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