HST/NICMOS Imaging Polarimetry of Proto-Planetary Nebulae: Probing of the Dust Shell Structure via Polarized Light

Дата и время публикации : 2004-11-19T00:59:11Z

Авторы публикации и институты :
Toshiya Ueta (NASA Ames Research Center/SOFIA)
Koji Murakawa (ASTRON/Subaru Telescope)
Margaret Meixner (STScI)

Оригинал статьи :http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0411556v1

Скачать pdf : http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0411556v1

Ссылка на журнал-издание: Ссылка на журнал-издание не найдена
Коментарии к статье: 17 pages in emulateapj format, 12 figures. To be published in the March 2005 issue of The Astronomical Journal
Первичная категория: astro-ph

Все категории : astro-ph

Краткий обзор статьи: Using NICMOS on HST, we have performed imaging polarimetry of proto-planetary nebulae. Our objective is to study the structure of optically thin circumstellar shells of post-asymptotic giant branch stars by separating dust-scattered, linearly polarized star light from unpolarized direct star light. This unique technique allows us to probe faint reflection nebulae around the bright central star, which can be buried under the point-spread-function of the central star in conventional imaging. Our observations and archival search have yielded polarimetric images for five sources: IRAS 07134+1005 (HD 56126), IRAS 06530-0213, IRAS 04296+3429, IRAS (Z)02229+6208, and IRAS 16594-4656. These images have revealed the circumstellar dust distribution in an unprecedented detail via polarized intensity maps, providing a basis to understand the 3-D structure of these dust shells. We have observationally confirmed the presence of the inner cavity caused by the cessation of AGB mass loss and the internal shell structures which is strongly tied to the progenitor star’s mass loss history on the AGB. We have also found that equatorial enhancement in these circumstellar shells comes with various degrees of contrast, suggesting a range of optical depths in these optically thin shells. Our data support the interpretation that the dichotomy of PPN morphologies is due primarily to differences in optical depth and secondary to the inclination effect. The polarization maps reveal a range of inclination angles for these optically thin reflection nebulae, dispelling the notion that elliptical nebulae are pole-on bipolar nebulae.

Category: Physics