Infrared Spectroscopy of Symbiotic Stars. IX. D-Type Symbiotic Novae

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Time-series spectra of the near-infrared 1.6 μm region have been obtained for five of the six known D-type symbiotic novae. The spectra map the pulsation kinematics of the Mira component in the Mira–white dwarf binary system and provide the center-of-mass velocity for the Mira. No orbital motion is detected in agreement with previous estimates of orbital periods ≳100 yr and semimajor axes ∼50 AU. The 1–5 μm spectra of the Miras show line weakening during dust obscuration events. This results from scattering and continuum emission by 1000 K dust. In the heavily obscured HM Sge system the 4.6 μm CO spectrum formed in 1000 K gas is seen in emission against an optically thick dust continuum. Spectral features that are typically produced in either the cool molecular region or the expanding circumstellar region of late-type stars cannot be detected in the D-symbiotic novae. This is in accord with the colliding wind model for interaction between the white dwarf and Mira. Arguments are presented that the 1000 K gas and dust are not Mira circumstellar material but are in the wind interaction region of the colliding winds. CO is the first molecule detected in this region. We suggest that dust condensing in the intershock region is the origin of the dust obscuration. This model explains variations in the obscuration. Toward the highly obscured Mira in HM Sge the dust zone is estimated to be ∼0.1 AU thick. The intershock wind interaction zone appears thinnest in the most active systems. Drawing on multiple arguments masses are estimated for the system components. The Miras in most D-symbiotic novae have descended from intermediate mass progenitors. The large amount of mass lost from the Mira combined with the massive white dwarf companion suggests that these systems are supernova candidates. However, timescales and the number of objects make these rare events.

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