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R Aquarii: First Detection of Circumstellar SiO Maser Proper Motions
We have made the first detection of circumstellar SiO maser proper motions in the envelope of a late-type star. Using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), we have obtained observations at four epochs of the 43 GHz, upsilon = 1, J = 1-0 SiO maser emission toward the Mira variable in the symbiotic binary R Aqr. The maser emission has a ringlike structure approximately 31 mas across with a slight elongation in the north-south direction. We find that the emission changes significantly over a timescale of about 1-2 months with almost no similarity in structure for timescales greater than or similar to 6 months. Our observations show that over a 98 day period the masers have an average inward proper motion of about 1 mas. This contraction of the ring implies an infall velocity of about 4 km s(-1) for the SiO masers in the circumstellar envelope.