VLT view of binary system R Aquarii from 2012

Eso_potw1850a_1024

eso_potw1850a December 10th, 2018

Credit: ESO

This image reveals a dramatic binary star system named R Aquarii, located 700 light-years from Earth, as seen in 2012 by ESOs Very Large Telescope (VLT). R Aquarii is a so-called symbiotic binary, comprising two stars surrounded by a large, dynamic cloud of gas (a nebula). Systems like this contain two stars in an unequal and complex relationship. R Aquarii is made up of one hot white dwarf and one red giant. The red giant is losing matter to its small companion and occasionally ejecting matter in weird spurts, loops and trails, forming the intriguing shapes seen here. There is a lot going on between the performers in this cosmic double act. The red giant is a variable star, with a brightness that changes by a factor of 750 every year and three weeks. The faint nebula is named Cederblad 211 and is thought to be the result of a violent nova 250 years ago. Also visible is a narrow, vertical, S-shaped feature, with blobs of superheated material moving outward at tremendous speeds of 600 to 850 kilometres per second. R Aquarii was also imaged 15 years ago and several times in the intervening period to track its ongoing activity. The system is very dynamic and complex, and has expanded and evolved significantly in recent years (an image from 1997 can be seen here, and a comparison between the two is available here).

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1850a/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, None, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
R Aquarii
Subject - Milky Way
Star > Grouping > Binary
Eso_potw1850a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 23h 43m 49.6s
DEC = -15° 17’ 11.7”
Orientation
North is 0.1° CCW
Field of View
6.0 x 3.7 arcminutes
Constellation
Aquarius

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue Very Large Telescope (FORS2) Optical (O III) 500.7 nm
Arrow_left_orange Very Large Telescope (FORS2) Optical (O II) 372.7 nm
Arrow_left_red Very Large Telescope (FORS2) Optical (H-alpha) 656.3 nm
Spectrum_base
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_orange
Arrow_top_red
Eso_potw1850a_1280
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ID
potw1850a
Subject Category
B.3.6.1  
Subject Name
R Aquarii
Credits
ESO
Release Date
2018-12-10T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1850a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
SIMBAD
Facility
Very Large Telescope, Very Large Telescope, Very Large Telescope
Instrument
FORS2, FORS2, FORS2
Color Assignment
Blue, Orange, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
O III, O II, H-alpha
Central Wavelength
500.7, 372.7, 656.3
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None, -, -
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
355.956657671, -15.2865758279
Reference Dimension
1873.0, 1166.0
Reference Pixel
937.0, 583.0
Scale
-5.32631007842e-05, 5.32631007842e-05
Rotation
0.059999999999981374
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
901.0 - 773.0 2.0788013318534961154273029966704 0.00003.485524188005
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
http://www.eso.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
None
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
potw1850a
Metadata Date
2018-12-07T00:27:52.032616
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.