Symbiotic Star R Aquarii (artist's impression)

This illustration depicts one possible explanation for R Aquariiàs semi-periodic outbursts. The peculiar behavior of R. Aquarii suggests that the red giant star in the R Aquarii system may spill some of its mass onto the companion - a common mechanism proposed for most nova-like outbursts. The mass transfer process may form an accretion disk: a swirling, flattened vortex of hot gasses that spiral down onto the hot companion. The disk may periodically erupt when the companion becomes overloaded with in-falling material. These explosions may happen only periodically when the white dwarf orbits close enough to pull in material from the staràs outer layer.

Credit:

Dana Berry (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo9015b
Type:Artwork
Release date:4 October 1990, 05:00
Size:2685 x 2059 px

About the Object

Name:IRAS 23412-1533, R Aqr
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Binary
• Milky Way : Star : Circumstellar Material : Disk : Accretion
• X - Stars Images/Videos
Distance:650 light years


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1.3 MB
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