The Infrared Spectra of Mira Stars

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Over the past two decades, much has been learned about the atmospheric structure of the pulsating Mira-type variable stars from computer modeling and the analysis of ultraviolet and visible wavelength spectra. This talk reports on the first set of infrared spectra taken of these stars under high dispersion with the Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) onboard the Spitzer Space Telescope. A sample of 25 galactic Miras was observed in the 10-37 micron spectral regime anywhere from two to several times during their pulsation cycle. Many of the stars observed show marked changes in overall flux levels as a function of phase. We are able to identify many strong emission lines from neutral and singly ionized metals and emission features due to silicate and carbon dusts and molecular constituents. This work was financially supported through a NASA Spitzer grant for Program GO 50717.


Ames, Iowa

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