AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 104 Binary and Variable Stars
Oral, Tuesday, 2:00-3:30pm, January 10, 2006, Balcony B

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[104.04] Long-term Multi-wavelength Study of Mira AB Interacting System

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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