The Chandra X-ray Survey of Planetary Nebulae (ChanPlaNS): Probing Binarity, Magnetic Fields, and Wind Collisions

The Astronomical Journal (Impact Factor: 4.97). 04/2012; 144(2). DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/144/2/58
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present an overview of the initial results from the Chandra Planetary
Nebula Survey (ChanPlaNS), the first systematic (volume-limited) Chandra X-ray
Observatory survey of planetary nebulae (PNe) in the solar neighborhood. The
first phase of ChanPlaNS targeted 21 mostly high-excitation PNe within ~1.5 kpc
of Earth, yielding 4 detections of diffuse X-ray emission and 9 detections of
X-ray-luminous point sources at the central stars (CSPNe) of these objects.
Combining these results with those obtained from Chandra archival data for all
(14) other PNe within ~1.5 kpc that have been observed to date, we find an
overall X-ray detection rate of ~70%. Roughly 50% of the PNe observed by
Chandra harbor X-ray-luminous CSPNe, while soft, diffuse X-ray emission tracing
shocks formed by energetic wind collisions is detected in ~30%; five objects
display both diffuse and point-like emission components. The presence of X-ray
sources appears correlated with PN density structure, in that molecule-poor,
elliptical nebulae are more likely to display X-ray emission (either point-like
or diffuse) than molecule-rich, bipolar or Ring-like nebulae. All but one of
the X-ray point sources detected at CSPNe display X-ray spectra that are harder
than expected from hot (~100 kK) central star photospheres, possibly indicating
a high frequency of binary companions to CSPNe. Other potential explanations
include self-shocking winds or PN mass fallback. Most PNe detected as diffuse
X-ray sources are elliptical nebulae that display a nested shell/halo structure
and bright ansae; the diffuse X-ray emission regions are confined within inner,
sharp-rimmed shells. All sample PNe that display diffuse X-ray emission have
inner shell dynamical ages <~5x10^3 yr, placing firm constraints on the
timescale for strong shocks due to wind interactions in PNe.

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    ABSTRACT: (abridged) The interaction of a fast wind with a spherical Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) wind is thought to be the basic mechanism for shaping Pre-Planetary Nebulae (PPN) and later Planetary Nebulae (PN). Due to the large speed of the fast wind, one expects extended X-ray emission from these objects, but X-ray emission has only been detected in a small fraction of PNs and only in one PPN. Using numerical simulations we investigate the constraints that can be set on the physical properties of the fast wind (speed, mass-flux, opening angle) in order to produce the observed X-ray emission properties of PPNs and PNs. We combine numerical hydrodynamical simulations including radiative cooling using the code FLASH with calculations of the X-ray properties of the resulting expanding hot bubble using the atomic database ATOMDB. In this first study, we compute X-ray fluxes and spectra using one-dimensional models. Comparing our results with analytical solutions, we find some agreements and many disagreements. In particular, we test the effect of different time histories of the fast wind on the X-ray emission and find that it is determined by the final stage of the time history during which the fast wind velocity has its largest value. The disagreements which are both qualitative and quantitative in nature argue for the necessity of using numerical simulations for understanding the X-ray properties of PNs.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2006; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Central stars of 19 planetary nebulas were observed for X-ray emission using the Einstein Observatory and in four of them X-rays were detected. High-resolution observation with the Einstein Observatory indicates that the X-ray source in NGC 246 is a point source. These planetary nebulas with positive observation turn out to be the nearest, have the least extinction, and also have the largest size of the nebulas in their vicinity. It is possible that X-ray emission is observed from these planetary nebulas with larger ages because of the smaller extinction by the nebulas and also because of the settling of heavy elements in the central star, which would otherwise prevent escape of X-rays by providing opacity. 42 references.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 04/1988; 131:304.

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