R Aquarii

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R Aquarii
Aquarius constellation map.svg
Red circle.svg

Location of R Aquarii (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Aquarius
Right ascension 23h 43m 49.46201s[1]
Declination −15° 17′ 04.1385″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 5.2 - 12.4[2]
Spectral type M5e-M8.5e + pec[2]
U−B color index −0.62[3]
B−V color index +1.98[3]
Variable type Mira + Z And[2]
Radial velocity (Rv) -22.0[4] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: +37.13 ± 0.47[5] mas/yr
Dec.: −28.62 ± 0.44[5] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 4.59 ± 0.24[5] mas
Distance 710 ± 40 ly
(220 ± 10 pc)
Period (P) 15,943 ± 471
Semi-major axis (a) 0.071 - 0.084"
(14.2 - 16.8 AU)
Eccentricity (e) 0.25 ± 0.07
Inclination (i) 70°
Mass 1 - 1.5[6] M
Radius 430[6] R
Luminosity 4,780[7] L
Surface gravity (log g) −0.5[7] cgs
Temperature 2,800[7] K
Mass 0.6 - 1[6] M
Other designations
R Aqr, BD−16°6352, HD 222800, HIP 117054, HR 8992, SAO 165849
Database references
Data sources:
Hipparcos Catalogue,
CCDM (2002),
Bright Star Catalogue (5th rev. ed.)
R Aquarii and its surrounding nebulosity

R Aquarii (R Aqr) is a variable star in the constellation Aquarius.

R Aquarii is a symbiotic star believed to contain a white dwarf and a Mira-type variable in a binary system. The orbital period is approximately 44 years.[6] The main Mira-type star is a red giant, and varies in brightness by a factor of several hundred and with a period of slightly more than a year; this variability was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding in 1810. It has a distance of about 200 parsec, and is one of the nearest symbiotic stars and a well known jet source.[8] The two components have been resolved at a separation of 55 mas.[9]

By its gravitational pull, the white dwarf draws in material from the red giant and occasionally ejects some of the surplus in weird loops to form the nebula seen in the linked image.[10] The whole system appears reddened because it is situated in a very dusty region of space, and its blue light is absorbed before reaching Earth.

The nebula around R Aquarii is also known as Cederblad 211. According to Tom Polakis,[11] as of 1998 no one had succeeded to observe this challenging object visually. It is possible that the nebula is the remnant of a nova-like outburst, which may have been observed by Japanese astronomers, in the year 930 AD.

The giant primary star is a Mira variable, a star that pulsates and changes temperature, leading to very large visual brightness changes. The total range of 5.2 - 12.4 is a variation of 750 times in brightness, from a naked eye star to one beyond the range of binoculars. The pulsations occur every 390 days but are not entirely regular.[2]


  1. ^ a b Van Leeuwen, F. (2007). "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 474 (2): 653. Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357. 
  2. ^ a b c d Samus, N. N.; Durlevich, O. V.; et al. (2009). "VizieR Online Data Catalog: General Catalogue of Variable Stars (Samus+ 2007-2013)". VizieR On-line Data Catalog: B/gcvs. Originally published in: 2009yCat....102025S. 1. Bibcode:2009yCat....102025S. 
  3. ^ a b Celis s., L. (1982). "Red variable stars. I - UBVRI photometry and photometric properties". Astronomical Journal. 87: 1791. Bibcode:1982AJ.....87.1791C. doi:10.1086/113268. 
  4. ^ Wilson, Ralph Elmer (1953). "General catalogue of stellar radial velocities". Washington. Bibcode:1953GCRV..C......0W. 
  5. ^ a b c Min, Cheulhong; Matsumoto, Naoko; Kim, Mi Kyoung; Hirota, Tomoya; Shibata, Katsunori M.; Cho, Se-Hyung; Shizugami, Makoto; Honma, Mareki (2014). "Accurate parallax measurement toward the symbiotic star R Aquarii". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. 66 (2): 38. Bibcode:2014PASJ...66...38M. doi:10.1093/pasj/psu003. 
  6. ^ a b c d e M. Gromadzki & J. Mikołajewska (March 2009). "The spectroscopic orbit and the geometry of R Aquarii". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 495 (3): 931–936. arXiv:0804.4139Freely accessible. Bibcode:2009A&A...495..931G. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:200810052. 
  7. ^ a b c Mayer, A.; Jorissen, A.; Kerschbaum, F.; Ottensamer, R.; Nowotny, W.; Cox, N. L. J.; Aringer, B.; Blommaert, J. A. D. L.; Decin, L.; Van Eck, S.; Gail, H.-P.; Groenewegen, M. A. T.; Kornfeld, K.; Mecina, M.; Posch, Thomas; Vandenbussche, B.; Waelkens, C. (2013). "Large-scale environments of binary AGB stars probed by Herschel. I. Morphology statistics and case studies of R Aquarii and W Aquilae". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 549: A69. arXiv:1211.3595Freely accessible. Bibcode:2013A&A...549A..69M. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201219259. 
  8. ^ Stute, Matthias; Sahai, Raghvendra. "Hydrodynamical Simulations of the Jet in the Symbiotic Star MWC 560". The Astrophysical Journal. The American Astronomical Society. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Hollis, J. M.; Pedelty, J. A.; Lyon, R. G. (1997). "Spatial Resolution of the R Aquarii Binary System". The Astrophysical Journal. 482: L85. Bibcode:1997ApJ...482L..85H. doi:10.1086/310687. 
  10. ^ "Aladin previewer". CDS. 
  11. ^ Polakis, Tom (Oct 1998). "Celestial Portraits: Aquarius". Astronomy. 26 (10): 83. 

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