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Exploring the Ever-Changing Nature of R Aquarii

14 Dec 2018, 02:07 UTC
Exploring the Ever-Changing Nature of R Aquarii ESO

The R Aquarii system is a symbiotic binary star surrounded by a large, dynamic nebula. Such binaries contain two stars in an unequal and complex relationship — a white dwarf and a red giant. In a disquieting act of stellar cannibalism, the white dwarf is stripping matter from its larger companion. The tormented red giant and the unstable white dwarf occasionally eject matter in weird spurts, loops and trails — forming the curious shapes seen in these images.

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