Context. R Aqr is one of the closest symbiotic binaries and the only D-type system with radial velocity data suitable for orbital parameters estimation. Aims. The aims of our study are to derive a reliable spectroscopic orbit of the Mira component, and to establish connections between the orbital motion and other phenomena shown by R Aqr. Methods. We reanalize velocity data recently published by McIntosh & Rustan complemented by three additional historical velocities. Results. We find an eccentric orbit (e=0.4) with a period 40.9 yr. This solution is in agreement with a resolved VLA observation of this system. We demonstrate that the last 1974–1981 increase of extinction towards the Mira occured during its superior spectroscopic conjunction, and can be due to obscuration by a neutral material in the accreting stream. We also show that jet ejection is not connected with the orbital position
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