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Radio continuum observations of the R Aquarii symbiotic star system, using the compact D configuration of the VLA at 6 em wavelength, reveal a large-scale ~2' structure engulfing the binary which has long been known to have a similar optical nebula. This optical/radio nebula possesses - 4 X 10^42 ergs of kinetic energy which is typical of a recurrent nova outburst. Moreover, a cluster of a dozen additional 6 em radio sources were observed in proximity to R Aquarii; most of these discrete sources lie ~3' south and/ or west of R Aquarii and, coupled with previous 20 cm data, spectral indices limits suggest a thermal nature for some of these sources. If the thermal members of the cluster are associated with R Aquarii, it may indicate a prehistoric eruption of the system's suspected recurrent nova. The nonthermal cluster members may be extragalactic background radio sources.


This article was originally published in Astrophysical Journal, volume 321, in 1987. DOI: 10.1086/185005

Peer Reviewed



IOP Publishing



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