Radio wavelengths provide key insights into the mechanisms responsible for accelerating electrons, including jets and outflows.
The image shows densely-sampled radio coverage, (obtained with the Arcminute MicroKelvin Imager Large Array), of the dwarf nova SS Cyg during its February 2016 anomalous outburst.
The outburst displayed a slower rise (3 days per mag) in the optical than typical ones, and lasted for more than 3 weeks. Rapid radio flaring on timescales <1 hour was seen throughout the outburst.
The most intriguing behavior was towards the end of the outburst where a fast, luminous ('giant'), flare peaking at ~20 mJy and lasting for 15 minutes was observed.
This is the first time that such a flare has been observed in SS Cyg, and insufficient coverage could explain its non-detection in previous outbursts. These data, together with past radio observations, are consistent with synchrotron emission from plasma ejection events as being the origin of the radio flares. However, the production of the giant flare during the declining accretion rate phase remains unexplained within the standard accretion-jet framework and appears to be markedly different to similar patterns of behavior in X-ray binaries.