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2008ApJ...684.1190R - Astrophys. J., 684, 1190-1209 (2008/September-2)

Bright planetary nebulae and their progenitors in galaxies without star formation.


Abstract (from CDS):

We present chemical abundances for planetary nebulae in M32, NGC 185, and NGC 205 based on spectroscopy obtained at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope using the Multi-Object Spectrograph. From these and similar data compiled from the literature for bright planetary nebulae in other Local Group galaxies, we consider the origin and evolution of the stellar progenitors of bright planetary nebulae in galaxies where star formation ceased long ago. The ratio of neon to oxygen abundances in bright planetary nebulae is either identical to that measured in the interstellar medium of star-forming dwarf galaxies or at most changed by a few percent, indicating that neither abundance is significantly altered as a result of the evolution of their stellar progenitors. Several planetary nebulae appear to have dredged up oxygen, but these are the exception, not the rule. The progenitors of bright planetary nebulae typically enhance their original helium abundances by less than 50%. In contrast, nitrogen enhancements can reach factors of 100. However, nitrogen often shows little or no enhancement, without any relation between the level of enrichment and other parameters studied here, suggesting that nitrogen enrichment is a random process. The helium, oxygen, and neon abundances argue that the typical bright planetary nebulae in all of the galaxies considered here are the progeny of stars with initial masses of approximately 1.5 M or less, based on the nucleosynthesis predictions of current theoretical models. These models, however, are unable to explain the nitrogen enrichment or its scatter. Similar conclusions hold for the bright planetary nebulae in galaxies with ongoing star formation. Thus, although composition varies significantly, there is unity in the sense that the progenitors of typical bright planetary nebulae appear to have undergone similar physical processes.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxies: Abundances - Galaxies: Individual: Messier Number: M32 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 185 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 205 - ISM: Planetary Nebulae: General - Stars: Evolution

Simbad objects: 73

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