IC 4663: The first unambiguous [WN] Wolf-Rayet central star of a planetary nebula

Дата и время публикации : 2012-03-15T10:10:55Z

Авторы публикации и институты :
B. Miszalski (SAAO/SALT)
P. A. Crowther (Sheffield)
O. De Marco (Macquarie)
J. Köppen (Strasbourg/ISU/Kiel)
A. F. J. Moffat (Montréal/CRAQ)
A. Acker (Strasbourg)
T. C. Hillwig (Valparaiso)

Ссылка на журнал-издание: Ссылка на журнал-издание не найдена
Коментарии к cтатье: Accepted for publication in MNRAS. 15 pages, 7 figures and 9 tables
Первичная категория: astro-ph.SR

Все категории : astro-ph.SR

Краткий обзор статьи: We report on the serendipitous discovery of the first central star of a planetary nebula (PN) that mimics the helium- and nitrogen-rich WN sequence of massive Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars. The central star of IC 4663 (PN G346.2-08.2) is dominated by broad He II and N V emission lines which correspond to a [WN3] spectral type. Unlike previous [WN] candidates, the surrounding nebula is unambiguously a PN. At an assumed distance of 3.5 kpc, corresponding to a stellar luminosity of 4000 Lsun, the V=16.9 mag central star remains 4-6 mag fainter than the average luminosity of massive WN3 stars even out to an improbable d=8 kpc. The nebula is typical of PNe with an elliptical morphology, a newly discovered Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) halo, a relatively low expansion velocity (v_exp=30 km/s) and a highly ionised spectrum with an approximately Solar chemical abundance pattern. The [WN3] star is hot enough to show Ne VII emission (T_*=140+/-20 kK) and exhibits a fast wind (v_infty=1900 km/s), which at d=3.5 kpc would yield a clumped mass loss rate of Mdot = 1.8 x 10^-8 Msun/yr with a small stellar radius (R_*=0.11 Rsun). Its atmosphere consists of helium (95%), hydrogen (<2%), nitrogen (0.8%), neon (0.2%) and oxygen (0.05%) by mass. Such an unusual helium-dominated composition cannot be produced by any extant scenario used to explain the H-deficiency of post-AGB stars. The O(He) central stars share a similar composition and the discovery of IC 4663 provides the first evidence for a second He-rich/H-deficient post-AGB evolutionary sequence [WN]->O(He). This suggests there is an alternative mechanism responsible for producing the majority of H-deficient post-AGB stars that may possibly be expanded to include other He-rich/H-deficient stars such as R Coronae Borealis stars and AM Canum Venaticorum stars. The origin of the unusual composition of [WN] and O(He) central stars remains unexplained.

Category: Physics