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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 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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