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We present studies of Long Period Variables (LPVs) in our Galaxy based on astrometric VLBI observations of H2O and SiO masers. The Galactic Miras and OH/IR stars are our main targets. For Miras, we present the distribution of the LPVs on the MK – log P plane. Galactic Miras show consistency with PLR in the LMC except for some fainter sources. Parallaxes of the LPVs determined from VLBI and Gaia are compared. There seems to be some offset.
Studies of Galactic LPVs based on astrometric VLBI are presented. We use a VLBI array, “VERA”, to measure parallaxes and calibrate the K-band period luminosity relation (PLR) of the Galactic Miras. Since the PLR offers a distance indicator, its calibration is crucial to reveal their spatial distribution. Parallaxes of dozens of LPVs are presented. For the longer period stars, the mass-loss is high and the stars are obscured and recognized as OH/IR stars. We estimated mid-infrared absolute magnitudes of dozens of OH/IR stars and found that they show a loose concentration around −14 mag at λ of 11.6 μm, indicating an existence of PLR for OH/IR stars. Astrometry of OH/IR stars will also help us to study non-steady spiral arms as proposed from the latest simulation study of the galactic dynamics. We will start astrometric VLBI observation of two OH/IR stars NSV25875 and OH127.8+0.0 at 43 GHz with VERA.
In this proceeding paper, we introduce the recent results of Galactic maser astrometry by mainly focusing on those obtained with Japanese VLBI array VERA. So far we have obtained parallaxes for 86 sources including preliminary results, and combination with the data obtained with VLBA/BeSSeL provides astrometric results for 159 sources. With these most updated results we conduct preliminary determinations of Galactic fundamental parameters, obtaining R0 = 8.16 ± 0.26 kpc and Θ0 = 237 ± 8 km/s. We also derive the rotation curve of the Milky Way Galaxy and confirm the previous results that the rotation curve is fairly flat between 5 kpc and 16 kpc, while a remarkable deviation is seen toward the Galactic center region. In addition to the results on the Galactic structure, we also present brief overviews on other science topics related to masers conducted with VERA, and also discuss the future prospect of the project.
We use astrometry to measure the distances to Galactic Mira variable stars. Our purpose is to determine a precise period–luminosity relation (PLR). At present, we do not have a precise PLR for Galactic Mira stars because of the large uncertainties affecting their distance estimates. To reduce the uncertainties, we adopted the Very Long Baseline Interferometry method and measured annual parallaxes of Mira variable stars with VERA. In addition to our previous results, we obtained three new distances for Mira variable stars. Based on our observations, the typical uncertainty in a given distance measurement is reduced to below 10%. At this conference, we present the current status of our project. To establish a precise Galactic PLR, we continue to observe more Mira variables. In addition, the apparent magnitudes of the target stars should be studied carefully.
We present a distance measurement to the semi-regular variable star RX Bootis (RX Boo). Using the VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) telescope, we conducted astrometric observations of a water maser spot associated with RX Boo, as well as of the continuum reference source J1419+2706. Based on monitoring observations covering a full year, the annual parallax of RX Boo was measured at 7.31 ± 0.50 mas, corresponding to a distance of 136+10−9 pc. This distance uncertainty is smaller by a factor of two than those previously published, allowing us to determine the object's stellar properties more accurately. Using our distance, we can determine the absolute magnitude and discuss more precisely the locus of RX Boo on the period–luminosity (PL) relation. RX Boo exhibits two simultaneous pulsation periods and is located on the fundamental and first overtone Mira sequences of the PL relation. In addition, we calculated the radius and mass of the star.
We present results of astrometric observations of S269 H2O maser performed with VERA (VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry). We have monitored the positions of S269 H2O masers for 1 year and successfully detected its parallax to be 189±8 micro-arcsecond. This corresponds to a source distance of 5.28+0.24−0.22 kpc, and is the smallest parallax (and thus the largest distance) that has ever been measured by means of annual parallax. Proper motions of S269 H2O maser were also measured and used to determine the Galactic rotation velocity at the position of S269. Our measurements show that the Galactic rotation velocity at S269 is the same to that at the Sun within 3%, indicating that the Galactic rotation curve is flat out to R~13 kpc.
We have carried out multi-epoch VLBI observations of the H2O maser sources associated with young stellar objects (YSOs) in nearby molecular clouds with VERA (VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry), which is a newly constructed VLBI network in Japan (Kobayashi et al. 2003). The main goal of our study is to measure the absolute proper motions and distances to nearby molecular clouds within 1 kpc from the Sun, to reveal their 3-dimensional structures and dynamical properties. Using the VERA dual-beam receiving system (Honma et al. 2003), we have carried out phase-referencing VLBI observations and measured annual parallaxes and absolute proper motions of the H2O maser features with respect to the extragalactic radio sources. We have successfully detected the annual parallax of one of the H2O maser features in Orion KL to be 2.29±0.10 mas, corresponding to the distance of 437±19 pc from the Sun (Hirota et al. 2007). In addition, the annual parallax of SVS13 in NGC 1333 is also determined to be4.10±0.17 mas, corresponding to the distance of 244±10 pc from the Sun, although the life time of the maser features are only 6 months. The absolute proper motions of the H2O maser features associated with Orion KL and NGC 1333 are derived, possibly indicating the outflow motions from the YSOs as well as the systemic motions of the powering sources.
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