(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers have conducted a comprehensive spatial-kinematic study of the planetary nebula known as Abel 48. The results of this study will help to gain a deeper understanding of the properties and nature of this object.
Planetary nebulae are expanding shells of gas and dust that were spewed out by a star during its evolutionary transformation from a main sequence star to a red giant or white dwarf. They are relatively rare for astronomers, but are of great importance for studying the chemical evolution of stars and galaxies.
Discovered in 1955, Abel 48 (also known as PN G029.0 + 00.4) is a planetary nebula around a rare type of star called the Wolf-Rayet star. Object exhibits an annular morphology with an average angular diameter of 40 arc seconds and is completely devoid of a visible halo. The metallicity, as well as a number of other parameters of this source, still remain unclear.
A team of astronomers led by Ash Danehkar from the University of Michigan, USA, decided to study the planetary nebula Abel 48 deeper by analyzing archived data from observations carried out mainly with the Wide Field Spectrograph (WiFeS) instrument mounted on a 2.3-meter telescope. operated by the Australian National University. These data allowed the development of a three-dimensional kinematic model of the planetary nebula.
Kinematic analysis of H-alpha radiation showed that the planetary nebula Abel 48 has a deformed elliptical toroidal shell with an outer radius of about 23 arc seconds and a thickness of about 15 arc seconds.
The central star is a rare Wolf-Rayet luminary of spectral type WN5. The star is depleted in hydrogen, and the authors speculate that its hydrogen-rich envelope may have been pulled over by a companion star.
The researchers note that additional observations of the central star of the planetary nebula Abel 48 could help confirm the binary system hypothesis. These observations will also provide an opportunity to explain the formation of this star and the morphology of the surrounding planetary nebula.
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