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L. D. Matthews, M. Karovska (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)
Mira AB is the nearest example of a symbiotic binary system. It comprises a pulsating asymptotic giant branch star (Mira A, the prototype of Mira variables) and a low-mass, accreting companion (Mira B, possibly a white dwarf), separated by 0.5''. Here we present the first spatially resolved radio continuum measurements of Mira AB, based on observations obtained with the Very Large Array (VLA). This is the first time a symbiotic binary has been resolved unambiguously at centimeter wavelengths, permitting individual studies of the two components. We describe the results of VLA monitoring of both stars over a ten month period in 2004-2005, together with constraints on their individual spectral energy distributions, variability, and radio emission mechanisms. Our calculations show that the emission from Mira A is consistent with originating from a radio photosphere, while the emission from Mira B appears best explained as free-free emission from a ionized circumstellar region ~(1-10)x1013 cm in radius.
The Very Large Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.