Multiwavelength Observations of the RV Tauri Variable System U Monocerotis: Long-Term Variability Phenomena That Can Be Explained by Binary Interactions with a Circumbinary Disk

2021 
We present X-ray through submillimeter observations of the classical RV Tauri (RVb-type) variable U Mon, a post-AGB binary with a circumbinary disk (CBD). Our SMA observations indicate a CBD diameter of $\lesssim$550 au. Our XMM-Newton observations make U Mon the first RV Tauri variable detected in X-rays. The X-ray emission is characteristic of a hot plasma ($\sim$10 MK), with L$_{X}=5\times10^{30}{\rm erg}~{\rm s}^{-1}$, and we consider its possible origin from U Mon, its companion, and/or binary system interactions. Combining DASCH and AAVSO data, we extend the time-series photometric baseline back to the late 1880s and find evidence that U Mon has secular changes that appear to recur on a timescale of $\sim$60 yr, possibly caused by a feature in the CBD. From literature radial velocities we find that the binary companion is a $\sim$2 M$_{\odot}$ A-type main-sequence star. The orientation of the binary's orbit lies along our line of sight ($\omega = 95^\circ$), such that apastron corresponds to photometric RVb minima, consistent with the post-AGB star becoming obscured by the near side of the CBD. In addition, we find the size of the inner-CBD hole ($\sim$4.5-9 au) to be comparable to the binary separation, implying that one or both stars may interact with the CBD at apastron. The obscuration of the post-AGB star implicates the companion as the likely source of the enhanced H$\alpha$ observed at RVb minima and of the X-ray emission that may arise from accreted material.
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