An XMM-Newton EPIC X-Ray View of the Symbiotic Star R Aquarii

Jesús A. Toalá, Laurence Sabin, Martín A. Guerrero, Gerardo Ramos-Larios, You Hua Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the analysis of archival XMM-Newton European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) X-ray observations of the symbiotic star R Aquarii. We used the Extended Source Analysis Software package to disclose diffuse soft X-ray emission extending up to 2.′2 (≈0.27 pc) from this binary system. The depth of these XMM-Newton EPIC observations reveals in unprecedented detail the spatial distribution of this diffuse emission, with a bipolar morphology spatially correlated with the optical nebula. The extended X-ray emission shares the same dominant soft X-ray-emitting temperature as the clumps in the jet-like feature resolved by Chandra in the vicinity of the binary system. The harder component in the jet might suggest that the gas cools down; however, the possible presence of nonthermal emission produced by the presence of a magnetic field collimating the mass ejection cannot be discarded. We propose that the ongoing precessing jet creates bipolar cavities filled with X-ray-emitting hot gas that feeds the more extended X-ray bubble as they get disrupted. These EPIC observations demonstrate that the jet feedback mechanism produced by an accreting disk around an evolved, low-mass star can blow hot bubbles, similar to those produced by jets arising from the nuclei of active galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL20
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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