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Session 15 - Planetary Nebulae and White Dwarfs.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
As part of a continuing effort to understand how planetary nebulae acquire their complex shapes and symmetries, we have obtained high-resolution images of the planetary nebula NGC3132, and the proto-planetary nebulae Hen 401 and Roberts 22, with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The images have been taken through a variety of narrow emission-line filters and a medium or broad continuum filter. All 3 objects have substantial quantities of cold, dense molecular gas detected via mm-wave CO line emission. The Hubble images reveal a rich and complex morphological structure of the circumstellar material in these objects.
The NGC3132 images show a bright elliptical shape, surrounded by fainter filamentary, elliptical structures with position angles different from the main structure. New features uncovered by HST in this well-observed (from the ground) extended nebula, include a wide pillar-like structure lying roughly along the major axis of the nebula in [OIII]\lambda5007 and H\alpha, but not in the low-excitation [OI]\lambda6300 amp; [NII]\lambda6584 lines. The latter show a thin equatorial band of material girdling the main nebula around its waist, and a fine jet-like feature extending radially outwards from the equatorial girdle. Both protoplanetary nebulae, Hen 401 and Roberts 22, seen mostly in scattered light from dust, are bipolar. The bipolar lobes in Hen 401 are long and cylindrical (length/width\approx14), with frayed ends; the visible central star is surrounded by a bipolar skirt-like structure, co-axial with the lobes. In Roberts 22, the lobes are shaped like a butterfly's wings, separated by a dark ``body'' of dense dust which hides the central star, and multiple shell structures can be seen in the fainter nebulosity surrounding the main lobes. We will discuss the implications of the remarkable structures seen in these 3 nebulae for current theories for the formation and shaping of planetary nebulae.
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