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The RV Tauri Variables

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Janet A. Mattei

Assistant to the Director, AASVO, Cambridge, Massachusetts




RV Tauri stars are yellow supergiant variables with light curves that have alternating deep and shallow minima. The amplitudes of light variations are on the order of 1.5 to 2.5 magnitudes, with occasional rises that exceed these limits. The periods, defined as the interval between two deep minima are 50 to 100 days. Many show long period changes of 500 to 9000 days in their mean magnitudes (Kameny, 1956). The light curves do not repeat at each cycle. Occasionally there may be irregularities in the light curve, or absence of the scheduled minima, or an exchange of deep and shallow minima. It has been noticed that the maximum following a deep minimum is usually brighter than the preceding few maxima.


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