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M. Karovska (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)
I will present the results from a long term (over 20 years) multi-wavelength study of Mira AB, the nearest symbiotic system consisting of an AGB donor (Mira A) and a compact accretor (Mira B) - likely a white dwarf. Symbiotics are an important class of interacting binaries showing a composite spectrum with signatures of a late-type giant and a high-temperature component, a compact object often a white dwarf. These semi-detached systems are likely progenitors of bipolar planetary nebulae, and have also been invoked as potential progenitors of at least a fraction of Supernovae type Ia, a key cosmological distance indicator. So far, Mira AB is the only symbiotic system that has been resolved unambiguously at wavelengths ranging from X-ray to radio. Furthermore, Mira AB is one of very few accreting systems that have been resolved spatially using modern ground- and space-based telescopes. I will present results from multiwavelength observations of this "detached" interacting binary that challenge our understanding of accretion processes in detached and semi-detached "wind accreting" systems. These include recent Chandra detection of an unprecedented soft X-ray outburst from Mira A, and the bridge connecting the components detected using Chandra and HST observations which indicates mass transfer in the system. I will discuss the unique input that the results from this long-term study provide to theoretical models of accretion in interacting binary systems.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.