AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 110. Nucleosynthesis and Dust Formation
Oral, Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 10:00-11:30am, Georgetown West

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[110.05] Probing the pre-PN Mass Loss Histories in the PPN Dust Shells

T. Ueta (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Proto-planetary nebulae (PPNs) are immediate progenitors of planetary nebulae (PNs) rapidly evolving over a relatively short time scale. Unlike the full-fledged PNs, the circumstellar dust shells of PPNs have neither been photo-ionized nor been swept up by fast winds. Since the PPN shells retain pristine fossil records of mass loss histories of these stars during the pre-PN phases, these dust shells provide ideal astronomical laboratories in which to investigate the origin of complex PN structures that we observe.

We have conducted imaging surveys of the PPN shells in mid-infrared and optical wavelengths, probing the dust distribution directly via mid-infrared thermal dust emission arising from the shells and indirectly via dust-scattered stellar optical emission passing through the shells. From these surveys, we have found that (1) the PPN shells are intrinsically axisymmetric due to equatorially-enhanced superwind mass loss that occurred immediately before the beginning of the PPN phase, and (2) the variable degree of equatorial enhancement in the shells, which is probably related to the progenitor mass, has resulted in different optical depths and morphologies.

To characterize the PPN shell geometries, we have developed and employed a 2.5 dimensional radiative transfer code that treats dust absorption, reemission, and an/isotropic scattering in any axisymmetric system illuminated by a central energy source. In the code, the dust optical properties are derived from the laboratory-measured refractive index using Mie theory allowing a distribution of sizes for each species in each composition layer in the shell. Our numerical analysis would be able to de-project and recover 3-D geometrical quantities, such as the pole-to-equator density ratio, from the observational data. These model calculations would provide constraining parameters for hydrodynamical models intended to generate equatorial enhancements during dust mass loss as well as initial parameters for magneto-hydrodynamical models aimed to reproduce highly complex PN morphologies.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.astro.uiuc.edu/~akspeck/evolved-stuff/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ueta@astro.uiuc.edu

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