Distances and absolute magnitudes have been obtained from an early distribution of Hipparcos data for a number of well-known late-type variables. These data were requested in 1981 in order to ensure that these important stars were not excluded from the Input Catalogue on account of their variability or very red color.
Measurements were requested for 20 Mira variables, and 14 of these were successfully observed. Of these, the nearest to the Sun were found to be R Leo (at 102 pc), χ Cyg (106), R Cas (107), R Car (128), T Cep (210),and R Aql (211), with formal errors ranging from ±12 to ±57 pc. Mira itself was not considered because the presence of a companion causes an 11-month wobble in its photocenter which is likely to lead to a spurious parallax. The absolute visual magnitudes of Miras at mean maximum range approximately from -2.5 to +2.0 with a clear dependence on spectral type (cooler stars being fainter). This trend is reversed for absolute magnitudes in the near infrared.
Results are also given for 10 small-amplitude variables of late type. The nearest of these are L2 Pup (M5 III, 61 pc) and R Dor (M8e, 62pc). The symbiotic star CH Cyg lies at a rather uncertain distance of 268 ± 65 pc.
Data were obtained for 23 carbon stars, including the brightest representatives of each of several subgroups. The nearest of these was found to be the SRb variable U Hya, at 162 ± 20 pc. The stars 19 Psc, Y CVn, W Ori, and HD 201626 were all found to be somewhat more than 200 pc away.