Volume 656, December 2021
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||03 December 2021|
Semi-regular red giants as distance indicators
I. The period–luminosity relations of semi-regular variables revisited⋆
Department of Astronomy, University of Geneva, Ch. Pegasi 51, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
2 University of Vienna, Department of Astrophysics, Tuerkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
Accepted: 8 September 2021
Context. Semi-regular variables (SRVs) are similar to Miras in brightness, and they also follow one or more period–luminosity relations (PLRs), though not necessarily the same one as Miras. As potential standard candles they are more challenging than Miras because of their smaller variability amplitudes and less regular light curves, but they are substantially more numerous and especially promising for probing old stellar populations.
Aims. We aim to characterise the variability of SRVs, specifically focusing on their connection with Miras, in order to prepare the ground for investigating their potential as distance indicators.
Methods. We examine SRVs and Miras in the Magellanic Clouds from OGLE-III observations, with data from Gaia and 2MASS. After cleaning the sample of variability periods unrelated to pulsation, we classify each source by chemical type and combination of pulsation modes. We examine the results in terms of global photometric and pulsation properties.
Results. We identify four SRV groups that fit the general evolutionary scenario predicted by theory. SRVs dominated by fundamental-mode pulsation are very similar to Miras, especially if mono-periodic. They further split into two subgroups, one of which follows the same sequence as Miras in the period–luminosity and period–amplitude diagrams, without discontinuity.
Conclusions. The similarities between Miras and SRVs suggest that the latter can be adopted as distance indicators in a way that is complementary to the use of the former, thereby at least doubling the available number of long-period variables (LPVs) suitable for use as distance indicators. The traditional amplitude-based separation between Miras and SRVs is not necessarily appropriate, and a more physically sound criterion should also involve pulsation periods. While this would require comparatively longer time-series, they are expected to become accessible in the coming years even for weak sources thanks to current and future large-scale surveys. The table of reclassified LPVs is made public.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: evolution / stars: oscillations / stars: variables: general / Magellanic Clouds / distance scale
Full Table 3 is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/656/A66
© ESO 2021
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