The Physics and Dynamics of Planetary Nebulae (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library)

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From the time the star leaves the asymptotic giant branch to the time it burns out the available hydrogen fuel and gradually fades to become a white dwarf, the total time is several tens of thousands of years. The transition from the asymptotic giant branch to the beginning of photoionization, i. During this phase, the nebula does not shine by line emission, but only through reflected light from the central star.

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Proto-planetary nebulae were only discovered in the s and the observations of these objects provide much needed information on the morphological, dynamical, and chemical evolution of planetary nebulae. Planetary nebulae have a variety of morphological structures, making them not only beautiful to look at but also challenging to understand.


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The high sensitivity and resolving power provided by the Hubble Space Telescope have greatly expanded our views of planetary nebulae see pictures in Kwok Although many planetary nebulae have shell-like structures similar to that of the Ring Nebula, some show butterfly-like structures with a pair of bipolar lobes Figure 3. Current thinking is that the bipolar lobes are created by a high-speed, collimated stellar wind, although the physical origin of the directional nature of this wind is not understood.

Astronomers now believe that transformation from a spherical to bipolar form takes place very rapidly, probably within a period of several hundred years. The rich morphological structures of planetary nebulae suggest that there are complex dynamical processes at work, involving, e.

An improved understanding of the physical mechanisms behind these morphological structures will help astronomers understand more distant phenomena such as active galactic nuclei. Planetary nebulae are usually identified by their emission-line spectrum. This allows emission nebulae to be easily separated from stars. There are approximately 2, planetary nebulae catalogued in the Milky Way Galaxy, but because of obscuration of galactic dust and incompleteness of surveys, the total population is expected to be about ten times this number.

Due to spectral similarities, planetary nebulae can be confused with other emission-line objects such as H II regions nebulae associated with young stars , symbiotic stars or novae both are results of binary star evolution. Most planetary nebulae in the Milky Way Galaxy are distributed around the Galactic plane, as their progenitors descend from an intermediate-mass stellar population.

Since the light from planetary nebulae is concentrated in emission lines, they can be easily distinguished from stars even in galaxies far away. Thousands of planetary nebulae have now been catalogued in external galaxies as far away as million light years away. Planetary nebulae have been extensively used as standard candles to determine the age and size of the Universe Jacoby By tracking the velocity patterns of planetary nebulae in galaxies, astronomers can also map out the distribution of dark matter in galaxies.

The optical spectra of planetary nebulae show emission lines of many heavy elements, many of which recently synthesized by nuclear processes during the preceding asymptotic giant branch phase. Planetary nebulae therefore are regarded as important agents in the spread of heavy elements in the Galaxy.

Dewhirst Classification

Recent observations by infrared and millimeter-wave telescopes have found that planetary nebulae contain, in addition to atoms, molecules and solid-state particles. In fact, some planetary nebulae emit most of their energy from their solid-state component in the form of far infrared radiation.

Gas-phase molecules can be identified through their rotational or vibrational transitions and solid-state particles through their lattice vibrational modes. Most items are housed in the Astronomy Library. Some older folio works are housed in Mugar Memorial Library. Interdisciplinary in nature, the Astronomy collection may support related work in other departments. Therefore, consultation with other selectors occurs in the following disciplines:. Astronomy Collection Selector. Some locations Boston University.

Research specialties: Numerical cosmology; galaxy cluster evolution. Research specialties: Solar and stellar coronae; diffuse X-ray emission; X-ray analysis algorithms. Research specialties: solar magnetic reconnection and associated particle acceleration, shock physics in supernova remnants and the heliosphere. Research specialties: Instrumentation for X-ray astronomy, astrophysical jets, hydrodynamics, galaxy mergers, formation of structure. Research specialties: X-ray binaries; microquasars; high-energy astrophysics; multi-wavelength studies; X-ray astronomy; gamma-ray astronomy; supernova remnants.

Research specialties: Quasars; black holes; multiwaveband studies; astronomical software. Research specialties: Nebulae; late-type evolved stars;interacting binaries; X-ray astronomy; multiwavelength imaging;imaging science.

New planetary nebulae towards the galactic center | Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A)

Research specialties: Interstellar medium; winds of hot stars; high-energy plasma physics. Research specialties: X-ray astronomy; dynamics and gas dynamics; hot gas in galaxies and clusters; active galactic nuclei. Research specialties: Multiwavelength studies of clusters of galaxies; extragalactic star formation. Research specialties: Observational X-ray astronomy, including number counts and distributions of X-ray source populations in the Milky Way and other similar galaxies; surveys of extragalactic X-ray sources; X-ray binaries; time-series analysis of X-ray sources.

D University of Virginia. S Northeastern University; Ph. Research specialties: Modeling and data analysis of solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

Research specialties: X-ray optics. Research specialties: X-ray optics, deposition of multilayer coatings, thin film coatings, materials science of thin films; low-temperature physics; semiconductor and superconductor device physics.

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Louis ; M. Research specialties: Physics of Active Galaxies and Quasars.


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