September 17, 2007: Dr. Margarita Karovska (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and
collaborators are performing a comprehensive study of the Mira AB interacting system, using the WFPC2 camera on the Hubble Space Telescope. Mira AB is composed of the prototype Mira variable omi Cet and its companion VZ Cet, separated by about 0.5 arcsecond. As part of this project they plan to obtain a large number of high-angular resolution images at wavelengths ranging from UV to optical. The main objectives of the HST/WFPC2 observations are:
Mira variables are the longest-observed class of stars for which we have long-term quantitative data that allow us to study their behavior over centuries-long periods of time. Fortunately for us, they're also easy to observe and monitor, having some of the largest amplitudes of all variables, and hundreds of them are bright enough that they're within reach of astronomers with modest telescopes.