A. Zijlstra, T. Bedding
Journal name not available for this finding
. Evolved AGB stars pass through a phase of heavy mass loss during which they become optically obscured. We describe an observational program to find and study such stars in the Magellanic Clouds. Many of the obscured stars are found to be luminous carbon stars, a population previously missing. We discuss the Mira PL relation, valid before the onset of the heaviest mass loss. We find that a number of semiregulars fit this relation, based on Hipparcos parallaxes. No evidence is seen for a Z-dependence, giving a powerful potential distance indicator. We derive a distance modulus to the LMC of m - M = 18.63 ± 0.09 as well as a bright calibration for the Horizontal Branch in globular clusters.