The shaping of the red rectangle proto-planetary nebula

Noam Soker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


I argue that the slowly expanding biconical structure of the Red Rectangle - a nebula around the post-asymptotic giant branch binary stellar system HD 44179 - can be formed by intermittent jets blown by the accreting companion. The bright biconical structure of the Red Rectangle nebula can be understood to be composed of a multiple double-ring system. In the proposed shaping process, one among several processes through which a companion can shape the circumbinary gas, the companion accretes mass from the slow wind blown by the evolved mass-losing star. An accretion disk is formed, and if mass accretion is larger than a critical value, two jets, or a collimated fast wind, are blown. If the high mass loss rate duration is long, bipolar lobes are formed. If, on the other hand, the mass-loss rate is intermittent and during one orbital period the slow wind fills a region that does not extend much beyond the binary system, then only a fraction of the double-lobe structure is formed, namely, rings. This, I propose, was the case with the progenitor of the Red Rectangle, where intermittent episodes of enhanced mass-loss rate led to the formation of a multiple double-ring system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-953
Number of pages7
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Binaries: close
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Planetary nebulae: general
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: individual (AFGL 915, HD 44179)
  • Stars: mass loss

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