OH/IR stars near the Galactic Center: Pulsation periods, luminosities, and polarimetry

Terry Jay Jones, Peter J. Mcgregor, Robert D. Gehrz, Geoffrey F. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


17 stars in the direction of the Galactic Center, 15 of which are OH/IR stars, have been monitored at infrared wavelengths over a period of nearly eight years. Pulsation periods, bolometric luminosities, and light curves for 14 OH/IR stars are presented. The Galactic Center OH/IR stars range in luminosity between MBol= -4.5 to MBol= -6, implying main sequence progenitors with masses less than 3script M sign. When compared to optically visible long period variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud with similar bolometric luminosities, the Galactic Center OH/IR stars have pulsation periods on average 30% longer. This shift to longer periods is consistent with the current picture of late asymptotic giant branch evolution, placing the OH/IR stars in a phase immediately following the optically visible Mira variable phase during which the star dramatically increases its mass loss rate, becoming invisible at optical wavelengths. Infrared polarimetry of 11 of the stars is also presented. The polarization for all of the stars is consistent with purely interstellar polarization, with little evidence for a significant intrinsic component. When compared to OH/IR stars in the galactic plane, the Galactic Center OH/IR stars appear similar in photometric characteristics, except none of the Galactic Center OH/IR stars shows the extremely thick dust shells or very high intrinsic polarization found in the more extreme galactic plane OH/IR stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1119
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994


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