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The velocity structure of strong far-UV emission lines observed in the symbiotic variable R Aqr suggests the start of new jet activity which will probably culminate in the appearance of a series of intense nebular emission knots within a decade. This is indicated by a systematic redward wavelength drift of emission lines, which we have followed with the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IV E) since the discovery of the brilliant northeast jet emission knots more than 10 years ago. The C IV λλ1548, 1550 resonance lines, which previously showed a prominent blue asymmetric wing that extended to velocities in excess -200 km s^-1, exhibit red wing asymmetry that extends to speeds of ~ + 200 km s^-1 in late 1992. The C IV line profile structure is consistent with the model proposed by Solf (1993), who explains the appearance of the northeast jet knots in terms of a ~ 300-500 km s^-1 collimated wind that collides with slower moving material expelled earlier in a nova outburst that occurred ~ 190 yr ago. Based upon these high-resolution UV spectra, similar emission structures should appear southwest of the central star when the counterwind (or stream) interacts with material in the southwest inner nebula. The apparent change in direction of flow could result from a precessing accretion disk that alters the projection angle of collimated flow from the disk poles. The direction of the collimated wind may be related to the binary orbit, because the velocity shifts associated with emission lines formed in the flow change direction on a timescale which is comparable to the binary period.


This article was originally published in Astrophysical Journal, volume number, in 1994. DOI: 10.1086/173821

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IOP Publishing



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