1 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Viale del Parco Mellini 84, 00136 Roma, Italy
2 Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Qc, H3C 3J7, Canada
Received: 28 March 2014
Accepted: 16 July 2014
Context. Carbon stars are among the brightest intermediate-age stars. They are seen in nearly all galaxies of the Local Group. In the Milky Way they are members of the thin disk but over a hundred have been identified in the Galactic halo. Since the halo consists essentially of an old stellar population, these carbon stars warrant special attention. We believe that such stars are trespassers and belong to streams left over by disrupted dwarf spheroidal galaxies.
Aims. By performing photometric monitoring we intend to identify Miras among the halo carbon stars.
Methods. We obtained, over several semesters, K and J images centered on the carbon stars in order to determine their variation and periodicity.
Results. We establish the variability for a number of stars and identify the Miras among them. We collect data from the literature on the Miras among various carbon star populations and show that the fraction of Miras among carbon stars is fairly constant. We demonstrate that such fractions for the halo and Sagittarius are biased because of the way targets are selected. We finally investigate the near-infrared color distribution of Miras and carbon stars.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: carbon / stars: variables: general / Galaxy: halo
The observed K and J magnitudes are available only at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (126.96.36.199) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/568/A100
© ESO, 2014