Long-term Near-infrared Brightening of Nonvariable OH/IR Stars

Takafumi Kamizuka, Yoshikazu Nakada, Kenshi Yanagisawa, Ryou Ohsawa, Yoshifusa Ita, Hideyuki Izumiura, Hiroyuki Mito, Hiroki Onozato, Kentaro Asano, Toshiya Ueta, Takashi Miyata

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Nonvariable OH/IR stars are thought to have just left the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase. In this conventional picture, they must still show strong circumstellar extinction caused by the dust ejected during the AGB phase, and the extinction is expected to decrease over time because of the dispersal of the circumstellar dust after the cessation of stellar mass loss. The reduction of extinction makes the stars become apparently brighter and bluer with time, especially in the near-infrared (NIR) range. We look for such long-term brightening of nonvariable OH/IR stars by using 2MASS, UKIDSS, and OAOWFC survey data. As such, we obtain multiepoch NIR data taken over a 20 yr period (1997-2017) for 6 of 16 nonvariable OH/IR stars, and all 6 objects are found to be brightening. The K-band brightening rate of five objects ranges from 0.010 to 0.130 mag yr-1, which is reasonably explained with the conventional picture. However, one OH/IR star, OH 31.0-0.2, shows a rapid brightening, which cannot be explained only by the dispersal of the dust shell. Multicolor (J-, H-, and K-band) data are obtained for three objects, OH 25.1-0.3, OH 53.6-0.2, and OH 77.9+0.2. Surprisingly, none of them appears to have become bluer, and OH 53.6-0.2 is found to have reddened at a rate of 0.013 mag yr-1 in (J - K). Our findings suggest other mechanisms such as rapid changes in stellar properties (temperature or luminosity) or a generation of a new batch of dust grains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 1


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