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An observational determination of the evolution of planetary nebulae

Wolk, G. van der (2006) An observational determination of the evolution of planetary nebulae. Master's Thesis / Essay, Astronomy.

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For a sample of 23 Galactic planetary nebulae, selected on the basis of distance certainty and temperature of the central stars being below T < 70; 000 K, central star Zanstra luminosities are determined. This has been done by obtaining magnitudes, interstellar extinctions and Zanstra temperatures. The magnitudes are determined from CCD images taken through a narrow band Hr-lter centered at a wavelength 6648A and transposing the uxes found towards the visual. The extinctions are found by at the same time obtaining images taken through a H-lter centered at 6566A. The ratio of the resulting nebular line H-luxes and 6cm or 21cm radio ux densities gives the extinction. The extinctions can be deduced from catalogued H=H-ratios and the Galactic dust map of Schlegel et al. (1998) as well. The Zanstra temperatures are obtained from the ratio of the ionizing and the visual photons emitted by the star, F(H)(6566)=Fvis(5450). For this method to work it is assumed that the central star radiates as a blackbody and the optical depth of the hydrogen ionizing radiation is greater than unity. The positions of the central stars along with their ages are plotted in a Hertzsprung-Russelldiagram for each of the four methods used to determine the extinction. The ages are determined by dividing the radii of the planetary nebulae with their expansion velocities. Then this observational determination of the evolution of planetary nebulae is compared to the theoretical evolution-tracks of Blocker (1995) calculated for stars with core masses ranging from 0:53 0:94 M. All the four plots indicate that there are a low number of planetary nebulae in the sample with high stellar mass and a large number of planetary nebulae with low masses. The observationally found ages of the high mass objects are larger, while the low mass objects have smaller ages than theory predicts. This observational determination shows that the theory of the evolution of planetary nebulae must be revised.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Astronomy
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:28
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:28

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