The three-dimensional kinematics of water masers around the semiregular variable RT virginis

Hiroshi Imai, Katsunori M. Shibata, Kevin B. Marvel, Philip J. Diamond, Tetsuo Sasao, Makoto Miyoshi, Makoto Inoue, Victor Migenes, Yasuhiro Murata

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We report observations of water masers around the semiregular variable RT Virginis, which have been made with the Very Long Baseline Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at five epochs, each separated by 3 weeks of time. We detected about 60 maser features at each epoch. Overall, 61 features, detected at least twice, were tracked by their radial velocities and proper motions. The three-dimensional maser kinematics exhibited a circumstellar envelope that is expanding roughly spherically with a velocity of ≤ 8 km s-1. Asymmetries in both the spatial and velocity distributions of the maser features were found in the envelope, but they were less significant than those found in other semiregular variables. Systematic radial velocity drifts of individual maser features were found with amplitudes of ≤2 km s-1 yr-1. For one maser feature, we found a quadratic position shift with time along a straight line on the sky. This apparent motion indicates an acceleration with an amplitude of 33 km s -1 yr-1, implying the passage of a shock wave driven by the stellar pulsation of RT Vir. The acceleration motion is likely seen only on the sky plane because of a large velocity gradient formed in the accelerating maser region. We estimated the distance to RT Vir to be about 220 pc on the basis of both the statistical parallax and model-fitting methods for the maser kinematics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)460-472
    Number of pages12
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1 I
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2003


    • Masers
    • Radio continuum: stars
    • Stars: individual (RT Virginis)
    • Stars: mass loss
    • Stars: oscillations
    • Stars: variables: other


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