The Keck Aperture Masking Experiment: Spectro-interferometry of three Mira variables from 1.1 to 3.8 μm

H. C. Woodruff*, M. J. Ireland, P. G. Tuthill, J. D. Monnier, T. R. Bedding, W. C. Danchi, M. Scholz, C. H. Townes, P. R. Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract We present results from a spectro-interferometric study of the Miras o Cet, R Leo, and W Hya obtained with the Keck Aperture Masking Experiment from 1998 September to 2002 July. The spectrally dispersed visibility data permit fitting with circularly symmetric brightness profiles such as a simple uniform disk (UD). The stellar angular diameter obtained over up to ∼ 450 spectral channels spanning the region 1.1-3.8 μm is presented. Use of a simple UD brightness model facilitates comparison between epochs and with existing data and theoretical models. Strong size variations with wavelength were recorded for all stars, probing zones of H2O, CO, OH, and dust formation. Comparison with contemporaneous spectra extracted from our data shows a strong anticorrelation between the observed angular diameter and flux. These variations consolidate the notion of a complex stellar atmosphere consisting of molecular shells with time-dependent densities and temperatures. Our findings are compared with existing data and pulsation models. The models were found to reproduce the functional form of the wavelength versus angular diameter curve well, although some departures are noted in the 2.8-3.5 μm range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1328-1336
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Instrumentation: interferometers
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: individual (Mira W Hya R Leo)
  • Techniques: interferometric


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