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Mira-Type Variables Observed in the Infrared at an Altitude of 13.7 km.

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Lewis L. Smith

Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Bethpage, NY 11714




nfrared spectra of Mira-type variables were obtained from a NASA Lear Jet in February, 1977, flying at an altitude of 13.7 km. At this altitude less than 1% of the earth's water vapor remains above the telescope and hence the entire near-infrared spectrum of these very red stars is seen unobscured. This observational Program could not be conducted without the assistance of the AAVSO which provided visual magnitude predictions for these variables, which vary from 6th to 13th magnitudes. For a given observing date it is most important to know bright a particular variable will be as there is only a limited observing time possible each flight. A folded 12-inch telescope of Dall-Kirkham design was used for these observations. The infrared spectrum of Mira (o Ceti) and the "hot" water bands and carbon monoxide (CO) features are discussed.


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