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First results from the ESO VLTI calibrators program
The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) is one of the leadinginterferometric facilities. It is equipped with several 8.2 and 1.8 mtelescopes, a large number of baselines up to 200 m, and with severalsubsystems designed to enable high quality measurements and to improvesignificantly the limits of sensitivities currently available tolong-baseline interferometry. The full scientific potential of the VLTIcan be exploited only if a consistent set of good quality calibrators isavailable. For this, a large number of observations of potentialcalibrators have been obtained during the commissioning phase of theVLTI. These data are publicly available. We briefly describe theinterferometer, the VINCI instrument used for the observations, the dataflow from acquisition to processed results, and we present and commenton the volume of observations gathered and scrutinized. The result is alist of 191 calibrator candidates, for which a total of 12 066observations can be deemed of satisfactory quality. We present a generalstatistical analysis of this sample, using as a starting point theangular diameters previously available in the literature. We derive thegeneral characteristics of the VLTI transfer function, and its trendwith time in the period 2001 through mid-2004. A second paper will bedevoted to a detailed investigation of a selected sample, aimed atestablishing a VLTI-based homogeneous system of calibrators.

Period-luminosity relation for M-type semiregular variables from Hipparcos parallaxes
We have studied the period-luminosity (P-L) relationships of oxygen-richsemiregular (SR) variables in several wavelength bands using Hipparcosparallaxes with an accuracy of better than 10 per cent. We have shownthat there is a clear dependence on period of absolute magnitude in theU,B,V,R,IC,J,H,K,L,M,N, [12], [25], [60] and [100] bands, andthat the slope of the linear Mλ- logP relation is asmooth function of wavelength. We point out that this relation can inprinciple be used to derive absolute bolometric magnitude as a functionof period.The behaviour of the second periods of SR variables in the P-L relationin the V and K bands is also discussed.

Constraining the Lifetime of Circumstellar Disks in the Terrestrial Planet Zone: A Mid-Infrared Survey of the 30 Myr old Tucana-Horologium Association
We have conducted an N-band survey of 14 young stars in the ~30 Myr oldTucana-Horologium association to search for evidence of warm,circumstellar dust disks. Using the MIRAC-BLINC camera on the Magellan I(Baade) 6.5 m telescope, we find that none of the stars have astatistically significant N-band excess compared to the predictedstellar photospheric flux. Using three different sets of assumptions,this null result rules out the existence of the following around thesepost-T Tauri stars: (1) optically thick disks with inner hole radii of<~0.1 AU, (2) optically thin disks with masses of less than10-6 M⊕ (in ~1 μm sized grains) within<~10 AU of these stars, and (3) scaled-up analogs of the solar systemzodiacal dust cloud with more than 4000 times the emitting area. Oursurvey was sensitive to dust disks in the terrestrial planet zone withfractional luminosity oflog(Ldust/L*)~10-2.9, yet none werefound. Combined with results from previous surveys, these data suggestthat circumstellar dust disks become so optically thin as to beundetectable at N band before age ~20 Myr. We also present N-bandphotometry for several members of other young associations and asubsample of targets that will be observed with the Spitzer SpaceTelescope by the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems LegacyScience Program. Finally, we present an absolute calibration ofMIRAC-BLINC for four filters (L, N, 11.6, and Qs) on theCohen-Walker-Witteborn system.

Infrared Colors and Variability of Evolved Stars from COBE DIRBE Data
For a complete 12 μm flux-limited sample of 207 IRAS sources(F12>=150 Jy, |b|>=5deg), the majority ofwhich are AGB stars (~87%), we have extracted light curves in seveninfrared bands between 1.25 and 60 μm using the database of theDiffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) instrument on the CosmicBackground Explorer (COBE) satellite. Using previous infrared surveys,we filtered these light curves to remove data points affected by nearbycompanions and obtained time-averaged flux densities and infraredcolors, as well as estimates of their variability at each wavelength. Inthe time-averaged DIRBE color-color plots, we find clear segregation ofsemiregulars, Mira variables, carbon stars, OH/IR stars, and red giantswithout circumstellar dust (i.e., V-[12]<5) and with little or novisual variation (ΔV<0.1 mag). The DIRBE 1.25-25 μm colorsbecome progressively redder and the variability in the DIRBE databaseincreases along the oxygen-rich sequence nondusty slightly varying redgiants-->SRb/Lb-->SRa-->Mira-->OH/IR and the carbon-richSRb/Lb-->Mira sequence. This supports previous assertions that theseare evolutionary sequences involving the continued production andejection of dust. The carbon stars are redder than their oxygen-richcounterparts for the same variability type, except in theF12/F25 ratio, where they are bluer. Of the 28sources in the sample not previous noted to be variable, 18 are clearlyvariable in the DIRBE data, with amplitudes of variation of ~0.9 mag at4.9 μm and ~0.6 mag at 12 μm, consistent with them being verydusty Mira-like variables. We also present individual DIRBE light curvesof a few selected stars. The DIRBE light curves of the semiregularvariable L2 Pup are particularly remarkable. The maxima at1.25, 2.2, and 3.5 μm occur 10-20 days before those at 4.9 and 12μm, and, at 4.9 and 12 μm, another maximum is seen between the twonear-infrared maxima.

Hipparcos red stars in the HpV_T2 and V I_C systems
For Hipparcos M, S, and C spectral type stars, we provide calibratedinstantaneous (epoch) Cousins V - I color indices using newly derivedHpV_T2 photometry. Three new sets of ground-based Cousins V I data havebeen obtained for more than 170 carbon and red M giants. These datasetsin combination with the published sources of V I photometry served toobtain the calibration curves linking Hipparcos/Tycho Hp-V_T2 with theCousins V - I index. In total, 321 carbon stars and 4464 M- and S-typestars have new V - I indices. The standard error of the mean V - I isabout 0.1 mag or better down to Hp~9 although it deteriorates rapidly atfainter magnitudes. These V - I indices can be used to verify thepublished Hipparcos V - I color indices. Thus, we have identified ahandful of new cases where, instead of the real target, a random fieldstar has been observed. A considerable fraction of the DMSA/C and DMSA/Vsolutions for red stars appear not to be warranted. Most likely suchspurious solutions may originate from usage of a heavily biased color inthe astrometric processing.Based on observations from the Hipparcos astrometric satellite operatedby the European Space Agency (ESA 1997).}\fnmsep\thanks{Table 7 is onlyavailable in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp tocdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/397/997

New periodic variables from the Hipparcos epoch photometry
Two selection statistics are used to extract new candidate periodicvariables from the epoch photometry of the Hipparcos catalogue. Theprimary selection criterion is a signal-to-noise ratio. The dependenceof this statistic on the number of observations is calibrated usingabout 30000 randomly permuted Hipparcos data sets. A significance levelof 0.1 per cent is used to extract a first batch of candidate variables.The second criterion requires that the optimal frequency be unaffectedif the data are de-trended by low-order polynomials. We find 2675 newcandidate periodic variables, of which the majority (2082) are from theHipparcos`unsolved' variables. Potential problems with theinterpretation of the data (e.g. aliasing) are discussed.

VLT spectroscopy of XTE J2123-058 during quiescence: the masses of the two components
We present Very Large Telescope (VLT) low-resolution spectroscopy of theneutron star X-ray transient XTE J2123-058 during its quiescent state.Our data reveal the presence of a K7V companion which contributes 77 percent to the total flux at λ6300 and orbits the neutron star atK2=287+/-12kms-1. Contrary to other soft X-raytransients (SXTs), the Hα emission is almost exactly inantiphase with the velocity curve of the optical companion. Using thelight-centre technique we obtain K1=140+/-27kms-1and henceq=K1/K2=M2/M1=0.49+/-0.10.This, combined with a previous determination of the inclination angle(i=73°+/-4°) yields M1=1.55+/-0.31Msolarand M2=0.76+/-0.22Msolar. M2 agreeswell with the observed spectral type. Doppler tomography of the Hαemission shows a non-symmetric accretion disc distribution mimickingthat seen in SW Sex stars. Although we find a large systemic velocity of- 110+/-8kms-1 this value is consistent with the galacticrotation velocity at the position of J2123-058, and hence a halo origin.The formation scenario of J2123-058 is still unresolved.

Thermal Properties of Centaurs Asbolus and Chiron
We have measured the mid-infrared thermal continua from two Centaurs,inactive (8405) Asbolus and active 95P=(2060) Chiron, and haveconstrained their geometric albedos, p, and effective radii, R, with thestandard thermal model for slow rotators. These are the first suchmeasurements of Asbolus; we find R=33+/-2 km and p=0.12+/-0.03. Thisalbedo is higher than all of those confidently known for active cometarynuclei. The thermal inertia is comparable to or lower than those ofmain-belt asteroids, the Moon, and Chiron; lower than those of the icyGalilean satellites; and much lower than those of near-Earth asteroids.For Chiron, we find R=74+/-4 km and p=0.17+/-0.02. While this albedo isconsistent with the established value, previous radiometry by othersimplied a larger radius. This discrepancy may be partially due to avarying infrared dust coma, but all data sets have too low signal to besure. Four Centaur albedos (out of about 30 objects) are now known. Theyshow a diversity greater than that of the active comets, to which theyare evolutionarily linked.

A multi-epoch spectrophotometric atlas of symbiotic stars
A multi-epoch, absolute-fluxed spectral atlas extending from about 3200to 9000 Å is presented for 130 symbiotic stars, including membersof the LMC, SMC and Draco dwarf galaxies. The fluxes are accurate tobetter than 5% as shown by comparison with Tycho and ground-basedphotometric data. The spectra of 40 reference objects (MKK cool giantstandards, Mira and Carbon stars, planetary nebulae, white dwarfs, hotsub-dwarfs, Wolf-Rayet stars, classical novae, VV Cep and Herbig Ae/Beobjects) are provided to assist the interpretation of symbiotic starspectra. Astrometric positions and counterparts in astrometriccatalogues are derived for all program symbiotic stars. The spectra areavailable in electronic form from the authors. Based on observationscollected with the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory (ESO,Chile) and of the Padova & Asiago Astronomical Observatories(Italy). Tables 2 and 3 are only available in electronic form (a) at theCDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/383/188, and (b) from thepersonal home page http://ulisse.pd.astro.it/symbio_atlas/ Figures 4-256are only available in electronic form (a) at http://www.edpsciences.organd (b) from the personal home pagehttp://ulisse.pd.astro.it/symbio_atlas/

Mid-infrared observations of methanol maser sites and ultracompact H ii regions: signposts of high-mass star formation
N-band (10.5μm) and/or Q-band (20.0μm) images taken with MANIAC onthe ESO/MPI 2.2-m telescope are presented for 31 methanol maser sitesand 19 ultracompact (UC) Hii regions. Most of the maser sites and UC Hiiregions are coincident with mid-infrared (MIR) sources to within thepositional uncertainties of ~3arcsec, consistent with the maser emissionbeing powered by the MIR source. The IRAS source positions, however, donot always coincide with the MIR sources. Based on an average infraredspectral energy distribution, we deduce that the MIR objects areluminous enough that they should also produce a strong ionizingradiation. Some sources are consistent with stars of later spectraltype, but not all can be. A number of maser sites show no detectableradio continuum emission associated with MIR emission, despite apowering source luminous enough potentially to produce an UC Hii region.Since no signs of an UC Hii region are detected here, these maser sitesmight be produced during a very early stage of stellar evolution. Wepresent objects that show evidence of outflow activity stemming from amaser site, exhibiting CO and/or CS line profiles indicative of outflowscoincident with the MIR source. These cases are promising examples ofmaser sites signposting the earliest stages of high-mass star formation.

Low Albedos Among Extinct Comet Candidates
We present radiometric effective radii and visual geometric albedos forsix asteroids in comet-like orbits. Our sample has three of the fourknown retrograde asteroids (1999 LE31, 2000 DG8,and 2000 HE46) and three objects [(18916) 2000OG44, 2000 PG3, and 2000 SB1] onprograde but highly elliptical orbits. These measurements more thandouble the number of known albedos for asteroids with a Tisserandinvariant in the cometary regime. We find that all six of our objects,and nine of the 10 now known, have albedos that are as low as those ofactive cometary nuclei, which is consistent with their supposedevolutionary connection to that group. This albedo distribution isdistinct from that of the whole near-Earth and unusual asteroidpopulation, and the strong correlation between Tisserand invariant andalbedo suggests that there is a significant cometary contribution tothis asteroid population.

Long period variable stars: galactic populations and infrared luminosity calibrations
In this paper HIPPARCOS astrometric and kinematic data are used tocalibrate both infrared luminosities and kinematical parameters of LongPeriod Variable stars (LPVs). Individual absolute K and IRAS 12 and 25luminosities of 800 LPVs are determined and made available in electronicform. The estimated mean kinematics is analyzed in terms of galacticpopulations. LPVs are found to belong to galactic populations rangingfrom the thin disk to the extended disk. An age range and a lower limitof the initial mass is given for stars of each population. A differenceof 1.3 mag in K for the upper limit of the Asymptotic Giant Branch isfound between the disk and old disk galactic populations, confirming itsdependence on the mass in the main sequence. LPVs with a thin envelopeare distinguished using the estimated mean IRAS luminosities. The levelof attraction (in the classification sense) of each group for the usualclassifying parameters of LPVs (variability and spectral types) isexamined. Table only available in electronic form at the CDS viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/374/968 or via ASTRIDdatabase (http://astrid.graal.univ-montp2.fr).

Catalogue of Apparent Diameters and Absolute Radii of Stars (CADARS) - Third edition - Comments and statistics
The Catalogue, available at the Centre de Données Stellaires deStrasbourg, consists of 13 573 records concerning the results obtainedfrom different methods for 7778 stars, reported in the literature. Thefollowing data are listed for each star: identifications, apparentmagnitude, spectral type, apparent diameter in arcsec, absolute radiusin solar units, method of determination, reference, remarks. Commentsand statistics obtained from CADARS are given. The Catalogue isavailable in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp tocdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcar?J/A+A/367/521

The proper motions of fundamental stars. I. 1535 stars from the Basic FK5
A direct combination of the positions given in the HIPPARCOS cataloguewith astrometric ground-based catalogues having epochs later than 1939allows us to obtain new proper motions for the 1535 stars of the BasicFK5. The results are presented as the catalogue Proper Motions ofFundamental Stars (PMFS), Part I. The median precision of the propermotions is 0.5 mas/year for mu alpha cos delta and 0.7mas/year for mu delta . The non-linear motions of thephotocentres of a few hundred astrometric binaries are separated intotheir linear and elliptic motions. Since the PMFS proper motions do notinclude the information given by the proper motions from othercatalogues (HIPPARCOS, FK5, FK6, etc.) this catalogue can be used as anindependent source of the proper motions of the fundamental stars.Catalogue (Table 3) is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp tocdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strastg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/365/222

On the Variability of K5-M Stars
I investigate the Hipparcos Satellite photometry of K5-M stars to seethe pattern of activity of these stars. A few stars for which furtherstudy is desirable are identified.

A library of 0.5 to 2.5 mu m spectra of luminous cool stars
We present a library of 0.5-2.5 mu m digital spectra of cool, mostlyvariable, giant and supergiant stars which should be useful for spectralsynthesis applications, as well as for comparison with theoretical modelatmosphere calculations. The library includes carbon stars, GalacticBulge and Magellanic Cloud stars, and OH/IR stars. The stars observedcover a range of metallicities and masses. Most variable objects wereobserved several times, at different phases of their pulsation cycle. Wediscuss the effects of various fundamental parameters and of variabilityon the spectra. Based on period-luminosity relations and stellarevolutionary tracks, we tentatively assign initial masses to eachobject.

Sixth Catalogue of Fundamental Stars (FK6). Part I. Basic fundamental stars with direct solutions
The FK6 is a suitable combination of the results of the HIPPARCOSastrometry satellite with ground-based data, measured over more than twocenturies and summarized in the FK5. Part I of the FK6 (abbreviatedFK6(I)) contains 878 basic fundamental stars with direct solutions. Suchdirect solutions are appropriate for single stars or for objects whichcan be treated like single stars. From the 878 stars in Part I, we haveselected 340 objects as "astrometrically excellent stars", since theirinstantaneous proper motions and mean (time-averaged) ones do not differsignificantly. Hence most of the astrometrically excellent stars arewell-behaving "single-star candidates" with good astrometric data. Thesestars are most suited for high-precision astrometry. On the other hand,199 of the stars in Part I are Δμ binaries in the sense ofWielen et al. (1999). Many of them are newly discovered probablebinaries with no other hitherto known indication of binarity. The FK6gives, besides the classical "single-star mode" solutions (SI mode),other solutions which take into account the fact that hidden astrometricbinaries among "apparently single-stars" introduce sizable "cosmicerrors" into the quasi-instantaneously measured HIPPARCOS proper motionsand positions. The FK6 gives in addition to the SI mode the "long-termprediction (LTP) mode" and the "short-term prediction (STP) mode". TheseLTP and STP modes are on average the most precise solutions forapparently single stars, depending on the epoch difference with respectto the HIPPARCOS epoch of about 1991. The typical mean error of anFK6(I) proper motion in the single-star mode is 0.35 mas/year. This isabout a factor of two better than the typical HIPPARCOS errors for thesestars of 0.67 mas/year. In the long-term prediction mode, in whichcosmic errors are taken into account, the FK6(I) proper motions have atypical mean error of 0.50 mas/year, which is by a factor of more than 4better than the corresponding error for the HIPPARCOS values of 2.21mas/year (cosmic errors included).

Infrared spectra of evolved stars with unusual dust shells
New mid-infrared spectra are presented of a number of oxygen-richevolved stars which have IRAS LRS (Low Resolution Spectrometer) spectrathat were classified as showing SiC emission. Two of the sources,IRC-20445 and IRC-20461, show the unidentified infrared (UIR) bandssuperposed on silicate emission features. Both objects have beenclassified as M supergiants. Several other sources show three-componentspectra, with peaks at 10, 11 and 13μm. The 13-μm source FI Lyrshows a narrow emission feature at 19μm. Emission by oxide grains maybe responsible for the 11-, 13- and 19-μm features. One object,IRC-20455, shows a self-absorbed silicate feature. There is no clearevidence for SiC emission in any of the spectra: the LRS spectra wereerroneously classified as showing SiC emission because of the relativelystrong 11-μm emission.

Library of Medium-Resolution Fiber Optic Echelle Spectra of F, G, K, and M Field Dwarfs to Giant Stars
We present a library of Penn State Fiber Optic Echelle (FOE)observations of a sample of field stars with spectral types F to M andluminosity classes V to I. The spectral coverage is from 3800 to 10000Å with a nominal resolving power of 12,000. These spectra includemany of the spectral lines most widely used as optical and near-infraredindicators of chromospheric activity such as the Balmer lines (Hαto Hepsilon), Ca II H & K, the Mg I b triplet, Na I D_1, D_2, He ID_3, and Ca II IRT lines. There are also a large number of photosphericlines, which can also be affected by chromospheric activity, andtemperature-sensitive photospheric features such as TiO bands. Thespectra have been compiled with the goal of providing a set of standardsobserved at medium resolution. We have extensively used such data forthe study of active chromosphere stars by applying a spectralsubtraction technique. However, the data set presented here can also beutilized in a wide variety of ways ranging from radial velocitytemplates to study of variable stars and stellar population synthesis.This library can also be used for spectral classification purposes anddetermination of atmospheric parameters (T_eff, logg, [Fe/H]). A digitalversion of all the fully reduced spectra is available via ftp and theWorld Wide Web (WWW) in FITS format.

A Mid-infrared Imaging Survey of Proto-Planetary Nebula Candidates
We present the data from a mid-infrared (MIR) imaging survey of 66proto-planetary nebula candidates using two MIR cameras (MIRAC2 andBerkcam) at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the United KingdomInfrared Telescope. The goal of this survey is to determine the size,flux, and morphology of the MIR emission regions, which sample the innerregions of the circumstellar dust shells of proto-planetary nebulae. Weimaged these proto-planetary nebulae with narrowbandfilters(Deltalambda/lambda~10%) at wavelengths of notable dust features.With our typical angular resolution of 1", we resolve 17 sources, find48 objects unresolved, and do not detect one source. For several sourceswe checked optical and infrared associations and positions of thesources. In table format, we list the size and flux measurements for allof the detected objects and show figures of all of the resolved sources.The proto-planetary nebula candidate sample includes, in addition to thepredominant proto-planetary nebulae, extreme asymptotic giant branchstars, young planetary nebulae, a supergiant, and a luminous bluevariable. We find that dust shells that are cooler (T~150 K) andbrighter in the infrared are more easily resolved. Eleven of theseventeen resolved sources are extended and fall into one of two typesof MIR morphological classes: core/elliptical or toroidal.Core/elliptical structures show unresolved cores with lower surfacebrightness elliptical nebulae. Toroidal structures show limb-brightenedpeaks suggesting equatorial density enhancements. We argue thatcore/ellipticals have denser dust shells than toroidals.

Speckle Interferometry of New and Problem HIPPARCOS Binaries
The ESA Hipparcos satellite made measurements of over 12,000 doublestars and discovered 3406 new systems. In addition to these, 4706entries in the Hipparcos Catalogue correspond to double star solutionsthat did not provide the classical parameters of separation and positionangle (rho,theta) but were the so-called problem stars, flagged ``G,''``O,'' ``V,'' or ``X'' (field H59 of the main catalog). An additionalsubset of 6981 entries were treated as single objects but classified byHipparcos as ``suspected nonsingle'' (flag ``S'' in field H61), thusyielding a total of 11,687 ``problem stars.'' Of the many ground-basedtechniques for the study of double stars, probably the one with thegreatest potential for exploration of these new and problem Hipparcosbinaries is speckle interferometry. Results are presented from aninspection of 848 new and problem Hipparcos binaries, using botharchival and new speckle observations obtained with the USNO and CHARAspeckle cameras.

Period-Luminosity-Colour distribution and classification of Galactic oxygen-rich LPVs. I. Luminosity calibrations
The absolute K magnitudes and kinematic parameters of about 350oxygen-rich Long-Period Variable stars are calibrated, by means of anup-to-date maximum-likelihood method, using Hipparcos parallaxes andproper motions together with radial velocities and, as additional data,periods and V-K colour indices. Four groups, differing by theirkinematics and mean magnitudes, are found. For each of them, we alsoobtain the distributions of magnitude, period and de-reddened colour ofthe base population, as well as de-biased period-luminosity-colourrelations and their two-dimensional projections. The SRa semiregulars donot seem to constitute a separate class of LPVs. The SRb appear tobelong to two populations of different ages. In a PL diagram, theyconstitute two evolutionary sequences towards the Mira stage. The Mirasof the disk appear to pulsate on a lower-order mode. The slopes of theirde-biased PL and PC relations are found to be very different from theones of the Oxygen Miras of the LMC. This suggests that a significantnumber of so-called Miras of the LMC are misclassified. This alsosuggests that the Miras of the LMC do not constitute a homogeneousgroup, but include a significant proportion of metal-deficient stars,suggesting a relatively smooth star formation history. As a consequence,one may not trivially transpose the LMC period-luminosity relation fromone galaxy to the other Based on data from the Hipparcos astrometrysatellite. Appendix B is only available in electronic form at the CDSvia anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html

A search for Technetium in semiregular variables
We searched for the lines of Tc in the spectra of Semiregular variables(SRVs) in the wavelength region from 4180 to 4300 Å using highresolution spectroscopy. Tc as an s-process element is produced on thethermally pulsing AGB and is therefore a good indicator for theevolutionary status of Semiregular variables. Combining our results withprevious investigations we get a database large enough for a statisticalstudy. Tc is not found in SRVs with periods below 100 days, spectraltypes earlier than M5 and photospheric IRAS colours. These objects are`blue' SRVs in the classification system of Kerschbaum & Hron(\cite{KH94}). Among the `red' SRVs (periods longer than 100 days) thefraction of stars showing Tc in their spectra is about 15 % with aprobably lower fraction among the stars with periods above 150 days.This is significantly lower than for the typical Miras. Taking intoaccount the probable conditions for the occurence of the third dredge-upand the expected behavior of the Tc abundance along an evolutionarytrack on the AGB, our results support an evolutionary scenario from`blue' SRVs (early AGB) to `red' SRVs (early TP-AGB) and on to longperiod Miras. Only the most massive (masses above 2M_ȯ) stars showTc during the SRV stage. The luminosities of the Tc-rich SRVs and Mirasare compatible with theoretical estimates of the minimum core massrequired for the third dredge-up. Based on observations collected at theEuropean Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile (ESO No.54.E-0350), theGerman Spanish Astronomical Centre, Calar Alto, operated by theMax-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, jointly with the SpanishNational Commission for Astronomy, and Kitt Peak National Observatory,USA.

Probing the {Na} BT I D and {K} BT I lambda 7699 resonance lines sensitivity to background opacity in late-type stars
We have measured the equivalent width WK of the K i resonanceline at 7699 Angstroms for a large sample of low activity late-typestars observed with high spectral resolution and we have verified thatthe relation WK vs. Teff is monotonicallydecreasing, for both dwarf and giant stars. This behaviour is differentfrom that of the Na I D lines for stars of the same type, which showedthat the relation WNa vs. Teff has a maximum forTeff ~ 4000 K, which is better defined for giants than fordwarfs (Tripicchio et al. 1997). The fit of the observed K I equivalentwidths by means of a NLTE spectral line synthesis using conventionalbackground opacity shows that, for dwarf stars, the adopted modelsoverestimate the observed WK for temperatures <~ 4000 K.This result is similar to that discussed for the Na I D lines in ourprevious paper. On the other hand, for giant stars with Teff<~ 3800 K these models in general underestimate WK. Thediscrepancies between observed and computed WK andWNa for cool stars are much stronger than the variations dueto uncertainties in either atmospheric model or line parameters, likeeffective temperature and surface gravity, or Van der Waals broadening.For M dwarf stars, the most convincing explanation for the disagreementis the lack of atomic and molecular line opacity in the adopted models.In fact, a NLTE spectral synthesis including an additional backgroundopacity reproduces with a good level of accuracy the equivalent widths,as well as the general shape of the profiles for both the Na I D and K Ilines, in a subsample of early-M dwarfs. Based on observations collectedat the European Southern Observatory (ESO), La Silla, Chile, and at theMcDonald Observatory, Mt. Locke, Texas, USA

Stellar radii of M giants
We determine the stellar radii of the M giant stars in the Hipparcoscatalogue that have a parallax measured to better than 20% accuracy.This is done with the help of a relation between a visual surfacebrightness parameter and the Cousins (V - I) colour index, which wecalibrate with M giants with published angular diameters.The radii of(non-Mira) M giants increase from a median value of 50 R_Sun at spectraltype M0 III to 170 R_Sun at M7/8 III. Typical intermediate giant radiiare 65 R_Sun for M1/M2, 90 R_Sun for M3, 100 R_Sun for M4, 120 R_Sun forM5 and 150 R_Sun for M6. There is a large intrinsic spread for a givenspectral type. This variance in stellar radius increases with latertypes but in relative terms, it remains constant.We determineluminosities and, from evolutionary tracks, stellar masses for oursample stars. The M giants in the solar neighbourhood have masses in therange 0.8-4 M_Sun. For a given spectral type, there is a close relationbetween stellar radius and stellar mass. We also find a linear relationbetween the mass and radius of non-variable M giants. With increasingamplitude of variability we have larger stellar radii for a given mass.

The Infrared Spectral Classification of Oxygen-rich Dust Shells
This paper presents infrared spectral classifications for a flux-limitedsample of 635 optically identified oxygen-rich variables includingsupergiants and sources on the asymptotic giant branch (AGB). Severalclasses of spectra from oxygen-rich dust exist, and these can bearranged in a smoothly varying sequence of spectral shapes known as thesilicate dust sequence. Classification based on this sequence revealsseveral dependencies of the dust emission on the properties of thecentral star. Nearly all S stars show broad emission features fromalumina dust, while most of the supergiants exhibit classic featuresfrom amorphous silicate dust. Mira variables with symmetric light curvesgenerally show broad alumina emission, while those with more asymmetriclight curves show classic silicate emission. These differences may arisefrom differences in the photospheric C/O ratio.

Spectral Irradiance Calibration in the Infrared. IX. Calibrated Stellar Spectra Using DIRBE Radiometry
The absolute calibration of the COBE/DIRBE data in the range 1-25 μmis examined through the in-band fluxes of DIRBE's own set ofpoint-source calibration objects. Using the values of DIRBE fluxesexpected for Sirius and for 10 of our published set of absolutelycalibrated K and M giants that are in common with DIRBE's owncalibration network, I find consistency with the project's formal basis,namely, our published calibrated spectrum of Sirius. This consistencymeans that one can use the DIRBE radiometry to construct absolutelycalibrated ``stellar templates'' (i.e., continuous calibrated spectrafrom 1 to 35 μm) on the assumption that the intrinsic stellarspectrum of a star of given spectral class matches the intrinsicspectrum for the star of the same spectral class among the set of K andM giants, the spectrum of which has been absolutely defined. Thistechnique is validated using a set of early M giants withwell-characterized ground-based photometry and confirmed with IRASlow-resolution spectra.

The Tokyo PMC catalog 90-93: Catalog of positions of 6649 stars observed in 1990 through 1993 with Tokyo photoelectric meridian circle
The sixth annual catalog of the Tokyo Photoelectric Meridian Circle(PMC) is presented for 6649 stars which were observed at least two timesin January 1990 through March 1993. The mean positions of the starsobserved are given in the catalog at the corresponding mean epochs ofobservations of individual stars. The coordinates of the catalog arebased on the FK5 system, and referred to the equinox and equator ofJ2000.0. The mean local deviations of the observed positions from theFK5 catalog positions are constructed for the basic FK5 stars to comparewith those of the Tokyo PMC Catalog 89 and preliminary Hipparcos resultsof H30.

HIPPARCOS Astrometry of Infrared-Selected Sources and the Connection Between Optical and Infrared Reference Frames
Astrometric data from the Hipparcos satellite are reported for theoptical counterparts of 87 bright infrared sources. These sources may beuseful in defining a reference frame for infrared observations. The dataare also useful in studying the locations of circumstellar SiO masers.(SECTION: Stars)

Classification and Identification of IRAS Sources with Low-Resolution Spectra
IRAS low-resolution spectra were extracted for 11,224 IRAS sources.These spectra were classified into astrophysical classes, based on thepresence of emission and absorption features and on the shape of thecontinuum. Counterparts of these IRAS sources in existing optical andinfrared catalogs are identified, and their optical spectral types arelisted if they are known. The correlations between thephotospheric/optical and circumstellar/infrared classification arediscussed.

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:15h04m04.20s
Apparent magnitude:3.29
Distance:89.526 parsecs
Proper motion RA:-72.6
Proper motion Dec:-44
B-T magnitude:5.4
V-T magnitude:3.459

Catalogs and designations:
Proper NamesBrachium
Bayerσ Lib
Flamsteed20 Lib
HD 1989HD 133216
TYCHO-2 2000TYC 6752-1455-1
USNO-A2.0USNO-A2 0600-17523002
BSC 1991HR 5603
HIPHIP 73714

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