SPIRITS Catalog of Infrared Variables: Identification of Extremely Luminous Long Period Variables

V. R. Karambelkar, S. M. Adams, P. A. Whitelock, M. M. Kasliwal, J. E. Jencson, M. L. Boyer, S. R. Goldman, F. Masci, A. M. Cody, J. Bally, H. E. Bond, R. D. Gehrz, M. Parthasarathy, R. M. Lau

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17 Scopus citations


We present a catalog of 417 luminous infrared variable stars with periods exceeding 250 days. These were identified in 20 nearby galaxies by the ongoing SPitzer InfraRed Intensive Transients Survey survey with the Spitzer Space Telescope. Of these, 359 variables have M [4.5] (phase-weighted mean magnitudes) fainter than -12 and periods and luminosities consistent with previously reported variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). However, 58 variables are more luminous than M [4.5] = -12, including 11 that are brighter than M [4.5] = -13, with the brightest having M [4.5] = -15.51. Most of these bright variable sources have quasi-periods longer than 1000 days, including four over 2000 days. We suggest that the fundamental period-luminosity relationship, previously measured for the LMC, extends to much higher luminosities and longer periods in this large galaxy sample. We posit that these variables include massive asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars (possibly super-AGB stars), red supergiants experiencing exceptionally high mass-loss rates, and interacting binaries. We also present 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8.0 μm photometric catalogs for all sources in these 20 galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

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© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


  • AGB and post-AGB
  • stars: oscillations (including pulsations)


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