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2017ApJ...838..107S - Astrophys. J., 838, 107-107 (2017/April-1)

A probabilistic approach to fitting period-luminosity relations and validating Gaia parallaxes.


Abstract (from CDS):

Pulsating stars, such as Cepheids, Miras, and RR Lyrae stars, are important distance indicators and calibrators of the "cosmic distance ladder," and yet their period-luminosity-metallicity (PLZ) relations are still constrained using simple statistical methods that cannot take full advantage of available data. To enable optimal usage of data provided by the Gaia mission, we present a probabilistic approach that simultaneously constrains parameters of PLZ relations and uncertainties in Gaia parallax measurements. We demonstrate this approach by constraining PLZ relations of type ab RR Lyrae stars in near-infrared W1 and W2 bands, using Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS) parallax measurements for a sample of ≃100 type ab RR Lyrae stars located within 2.5 kpc of the Sun. The fitted PLZ relations are consistent with previous studies, and in combination with other data, deliver distances precise to 6% (once various sources of uncertainty are taken into account). To a precision of 0.05 mas (1σ), we do not find a statistically significant offset in TGAS parallaxes for this sample of distant RR Lyrae stars (median parallax of 0.8 mas and distance of 1.4 kpc). With only minor modifications, our probabilistic approach can be used to constrain PLZ relations of other pulsating stars, and we intend to apply it to Cepheid and Mira stars in the near future.

Abstract Copyright: © 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Journal keyword(s): methods: data analysis - methods: statistical - parallaxes - stars: variables: RR Lyrae - stars: variables: RR Lyrae

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/ApJ/838/107): table2.dat>

Simbad objects: 120

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