EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 424, Number 1, September II 2004
Page(s) 157 - 164
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035866

A&A 424, 157-164 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035866

Proper motion analysis of the jet of R Aquarii

K. Mäkinen1, H. J. Lehto1, 2, R. Vainio3 and D. R. H. Johnson4

1  Tuorla Observatory, Väisäläntie 20, 21500 Piikkiö, Finland
    e-mail: krikokko@utu.fi
2  Department of Physics, 20014 Turku University, Finland
3  Department of Physical Sciences, PO Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
4  Charterhouse, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2DX, UK

(Received 15 December 2003 / Accepted 18 May 2004)

We have observed the jet of R Aquarii at high resolution with the VLA in 1992.83 and in 1999.78. Observations in the first epoch have resolved the base of the jet which shows a helical structure. We cannot detect the expected new jet component at either epoch. This does not disprove the idea of periodic ejection. Either the timing inferred from the acceleration models, or the assumed periastron passage is incorrect. Alternatively, a single new component cannot be resolved due to the dense core. Proper motion analysis of the jet components shows that previously derived acceleration models do not fit our new data. Indeed, the first ~ $ 1\arcsec$ of the jet, both to north-east and south-west, appears fixed and has slowly moving shocks at the termination points, whereas the positions of the outer components fit best a ballistic orbit. We propose that the components are formed due to enhanced matter flow at periastron, accelerated during the first  $ 1\arcsec$ and then ejected as bullets. Component A at a distance of ~ $ 4\arcsec$ from the core has broken into two parts, similar to what was previously assumed to have happened to the outermost components B and D. The disruption is probably a consequence of a reverse shock or a collision with a cloud.

Key words: stars: binaries: symbiotic -- stars: individual: R Aqr -- ISM: jets and outflows

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2004