University of Vienna, Department of Astronomy, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
2 Nordic Optical Telescope, Apartado 474, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain
3 Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Center, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
4 Onsala Space Observatory, 43992 Onsala, Sweden
Received: 24 March 2011
Accepted: 25 May 2011
Context. Previous studies on the stellar content of the two nearby dwarf galaxies NGC 147 and NGC 185 reveal a rich population of late-type giants in both systems, including a large number of carbon-rich objects. These stars are known to show pronounced photometric variability, which can be used for a more detailed characterisation of these highly evolved stars. Owing to their well-studied parameters, these Local Group members are ideal candidates for comparative studies.
Aims. Through photometric monitoring, we attempt to provide a catalogue of long-period variables (LPVs), including Mira variables, semi-regular variables, and even irregular variables in NGC 147 and NGC 185. We investigate the light variations and compare the characteristics of these two LPV populations with the results found for other galaxies, such as the LMC.
Methods. We carried out time-series photometry in the i-band of the two target galaxies with the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT), covering a time span of ≈ 2.5 years. More than 30 epochs were available for a period search. These data were then combined with single-epoch K-band photometry, also obtained with the NOT. Narrow-band photometry data from the literature was used to distinguish between O-rich and C-rich stars.
Results. We report the detection of 513 LPVs in NGC 185 and 213 LPVs in NGC 147, showing amplitudes Δi of up to ≈ 2mag and periods ranging between 90 and 800 days. The period-luminosity diagram for each of our target galaxies exhibits a well populated sequence of fundamental mode pulsators. The resulting period-luminosity relations we obtained are compared to relations from the literature. We discuss the universality of those relations because of which, as a side result, a correction of the distance modulus of NGC 185 may be necessary. A value of (m − M) = 24ṃ30 seems to be more appropriate to match the observed data. Only one of our two galaxies, namely NGC 185, has a significant fraction of possibly first overtone pulsators. An interpretation of this finding in terms of differences in the star-formation histories is suggested.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: late-type / stars: variables: general / Local Group / galaxies: individual: NGC 147 / galaxies: individual: NGC 185
Appendix is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2011