CV Zoo

Prime CV specimens-

U Gem

This variable is the typical star of its class and was the first to be discovered. J.R. Hind, an English astronomer in charge of a private observatory in Regents Park, found a previously unlisted star in the constellation Gemini to be nearly 9th magnitude on December 15, 1855.

SS Cyg

Since its discovery in 1896 by Louisa D. Wells of the Harvard College Observatory, SS Cygni has undoubtedly been one of the most observed variable stars in the night sky.


Discovered in 1908 by L. Ceraski of Moscow, the variable SU Ursae Majoris is the prototype for variables belonging to this subtype of dwarf novae.

Z Cam

Z Camelopardalis is the prototype star of a subclass of dwarf nova-type cataclysmic variables especially known for their random standstills.

WZ Sge

WZ Sge - the prototype of the WZ Sge subclass of dwarf nova cataclysmic variables - went into a rare outburst on July 23, 2001, captivating the attention of amateur and professional astronomers around the globe.

AM Her

The exotic star AM Herculis is the namesake of the “AM Her stars” or “polars”, a unique class of cataclysmic variables in which the magnetic field of the primary star (white dwarf) completely dominates the accretion flow of the system.

Some other interesting beasts-

RX And

Since its discovery in 1905, RX And has undergone nearly every type of behavior seen in the dwarf novae, creating one of the more interesting light curves among the CVs.

IP Peg

IP Pegasi is an eclipsing binary system with a long orbital period (3.80 hours) that shows evidence of spiral arms in its accretion disc.

RS Oph

Over a century of observations shows that this recurrent nova has undergone 6 recorded outbursts: 1898, 1933, 1958, 1967, 1985 and the most recent one in 2006.

T Pyx

This star is way overdue for an outburst and when it happens, some people think it is going to be a big one.

VW Hyi

VW Hyi is one of the most popular dwarf novae in the southern skies.

GK Per

Once GK Per's magnetic nature was discovered, it was classified based on the strength of the white dwarf's magnetic field into the cataclysmic variable subtype, intermediate polar or DQ Her star.