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RX Puppis

RX Pup is a symbiotic star -- a binary star system composed of a giant star and a small companion onto which wind from the giant star accretes.  Their spectra are composite spectra, showing features typical of both cool, giant stars (the donor star), and of hot dwarf stars (the accreting star).  RX Pup is an interesting example of such systems, being composed of a heavily obscured Mira variable with a period over 550 days.  The Mira pulsations aren't visible in this visual light curve, but they're visible in the infrared which can shine through the dust that shrouds the pulsating star.  But the symbiotic variations are clearly visible; the star has undergone a gentle fading from around m(vis)=11.0 in the late 1980s to around 13.5 today.  As symbiotics go, these variations aren't very striking, but it's impossible to know what the future holds...

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