The WISE view of RV Tauri stars

I. Gezer, H. Van Winckel, Z. Bozkurt, K. De Smedt, D. Kamath, M. Hillen, R. Manick

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53 Citations (Scopus)


We present a detailed study based on infrared (IR) photometry of all Galactic RV Tauri stars from the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (GCVS). RV Tauri stars are the brightest among the Population II Cepheids. They are thought to evolve away from the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) towards the white dwarf domain. IRAS detected several RV Tauri stars because of their large IR excesses and it was found that they occupy a specific region in the [12] - [25], [25] - [60] IRAS two-colour diagram. We used the all sky survey of Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to extend these studies and compare the IR properties of all RV Tauri stars in the GCVS with a selected sample of post-AGB objects with the goal to place the RV Tauri pulsators in the context of post-AGB evolution. Moreover, we correlated the IR properties of both the RV Tauri stars and the comparison sample with other observables like binarity and the presence of a photospheric chemical anomaly called depletion. We find that Galactic RV Tauri stars display a range of IR properties and we differentiate between disc sources, objects with no IR excess and objects for which the spectral energy distribution (SED) is uncertain. We obtain a clear correlation between disc sources and binarity. RV Tauri stars with a variable mean magnitude are exclusively found among the disc sources. We also find evidence for disc evolution among the binaries. Furthermore our studies show that the presence of a disc seems to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for the depletion process to become efficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-146
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Infrared: stars
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: variables: cepheids


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