AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 66. Mira Variable Stars
Display, Wednesday, June 2, 1999, 10:00am-6:30pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[66.07] Vanadium Oxide in the Spectra of Mira Variables

M. W. Castelaz, D. G. Luttermoser (East Tenn. State Univ,), R. A. Piontek (Univ. of Michigan)

Over the last three years, we have made spectroscopic measurements of twenty Mira variable stars, as a function of phase, probing their stellar atmospheres and underlying pulsation mechanisms. Measurement of variations in TiO and VO with phase can be used to help determine whether these molecular species are produced in an extended region above the layers where Balmer line emission occurs or below this shocked region. Piontek & Luttermoser (1999 IAPPPC, submitted), produce synthetic spectra for three Mira variables, R Leo, V CVn, and R CVn as a function of phase. Comparison of their synthetic spectra to our observed spectra yield the fundamental astrophysical parameters of effective temperatures and surface gravities. Spectra are synthesized with LTE stellar stmospheres code ATLAS, using the 6.6--million Indiana University atomic and molecular line dataset. Piontek & Luttermoser point out that the IU dataset does not include vanadium oxide (VO). Thus, there is a noticeable difference between the synthetic spectra and observed near-IR spectra corresponding to the B-X bands of VO (Mahanti 1935, Proc. Phys. Soc., 47, 43; Keenan & Schroeder 1952,L. W., ApJ, 115, 82). In order to incorporate the VO bands in the synthetic spectra, we need to establish tables of wavenumbers, lowest energy levels, and oscillator strengths. Producing the tables is non-trivial. Laboratory measurements of wavenumbers are used in the Just-Overlapping Line Approximation (JOLA; Tsuji 1966, PASJ, 18, 127) to calculate oscillator strengths. The JOLA technique and preliminary results will be presented.

MWC greatly appreciates support from the National Science Foundation grant AST-9500756. RAP acknowledges the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy 1998 Summer REU program supported by the National Science Foundation and thanks DGL for being his mentor.

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