A Hubble space telescope snapshot survey of proto-planetary nebula candidates: two types of axisymmetric reflection nebulosities.
UETA T., MEIXNER M. and BOBROWSKY M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report the results from an optical imaging survey of proto-planetary nebula candidates using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The goals of the survey were to image low surface brightness optical reflection nebulosities around proto-planetary nebulae and to investigate the distribution of the circumstellar dust, which scatters the star light from the central post-asymptotic giant branch star and creates the optical reflection nebulosities. We exploited the high resolving power and wide dynamic range of HST and detected nebulosities in 21 of 27 sources. The reduced and deconvolved images are presented along with photometric and geometric measurements. All detected reflection nebulosities show elongation, and the nebula morphology bifurcates depending on the degree of the central star obscuration. The star-obvious low-level-elongated (SOLE) nebulae show a bright central star embedded in a faint, extended nebulosity, whereas the dust-prominent longitudinally extended (DUPLEX) nebulae have remarkable bipolar structure with a completely or partially obscured central star. The intrinsic axisymmetry of these proto-planetary nebula reflection nebulosities demonstrates that the axisymmetry frequently found in planetary nebulae predates the proto-planetary nebula phase, confirming previous independent results. We suggest that axisymmetry in proto-planetary nebulae is created by an equatorially enhanced superwind at the end of the asymptotic giant branch phase. We discuss that the apparent morphological dichotomy is caused by a difference in the optical thickness of the circumstellar dust/gas shell with a differing equator-to-pole density contrast. Moreover, we show that SOLE and DUPLEX nebulae are physically distinct types of proto-planetary nebulae, with a suggestion that higher mass progenitor AGB stars are more likely to become DUPLEX proto-planetary nebulae.
ISM: Planetary Nebulae: General - ISM: Reflection Nebulae - Stars: AGB and Post-AGB - Stars: Mass Loss