Innocent bystanders: carbon stars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Abstract (from CDS):
Among stars showing carbon molecular bands (C stars), the main-sequence dwarfs, likely in post-mass transfer binaries, are numerically dominant in the Galaxy. Via spectroscopic selection from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we retrieve 1220 high galactic latitude C stars, ∼5 times more than previously known, including a wider variety than past techniques such as color or grism selection have netted, and additionally yielding 167 DQ white dwarfs. Of the C stars with proper motion measurements, we identify 69% clearly as dwarfs (dCs), while ∼7% are giants. The dCs likely span absolute magnitudes Mi from ∼6.5 to 10.5. "G-type" dC stars with weak CN and relatively blue colors are probably the most massive dCs still cool enough to show C2bands. We report Balmer emission in 22 dCs, none of which are G-types. We find 8 new DA/dC stars in composite spectrum binaries, quadrupling the total sample of these "smoking guns" for AGB binary mass transfer. Eleven very red C stars with strong red CN bands appear to be "N"-type AGB stars at large Galactocentric distances, one likely a new discovery in the dIrr galaxy Leo A. Two such stars within 30' of each other may trace a previously unidentified dwarf galaxy or tidal stream at ∼40 kpc. We explore the multiwavelength properties of the sample and report the first X-ray detection of a dC star, which shows strong Balmer emission. Our own spectroscopic survey additionally provides the dC surface density from a complete sample of dwarfs limited by magnitude, color, and proper motion.