Journal Article

The winds of hydrogen-rich central stars of planetary nebulae

J. E. Herald and L. Bianchi

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 417, issue 4, pages 2440-2464
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The winds of hydrogen-rich central stars of planetary nebulae

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We have modelled far-UV, UV and optical spectra of a sample of 10 hydrogen-rich central stars of planetary nebulae (CSPN) using stellar atmosphere codes to derive their photospheric and wind parameters. The resulting stellar temperatures range from 40 to 120 kK, well spanning the CSPN evolutionary phase and allowing certain trends to be discerned. In particular, an inhomogeneous wind structure and X-ray emission in the wind are required to match spectral diagnostic lines in many cases. For the majority of the sample, a wind clumping factor of 0.1 ≤f≤ 0.04 is derived (mainly from the P vλλ1118, 28 and O vλ1371 lines). Such factors correspond to clump densities of ∼10–25 times that of the smooth wind density, with resulting mass-loss rates one-third to one-fifth the smooth wind values, which is of significant consequence to nebular dynamics, stellar and galactic evolution. Furthermore, we find clumping to begin at small radii (∼1.2 R*), as has been found when modelling the winds of (massive) O stars. The inclusion of X-ray fluxes, presumably from shocks, in the model atmosphere calculations is found to improve the fit of the O viλλ1032, 38 line (and other features) for stars with 55 ≤ Teff≤ 80 kK, and to be absolutely necessary to match this feature for the coolest stars in our sample (Teff≲ 45 kK). These findings suggest that shocks originating from line-driven wind instabilities leading to the formation of clumped winds and X-rays may be a common characteristic of CSPN, as has been found for the winds of massive O-type stars.

We also find interesting results for some individual stars. NGC 1360 (Teff≃ 105 kK) displays the signature of a (previously undetected) weak stellar wind in its O vi 1032, 38 profile, and probably has the lowest mass-loss rate ( M yr−1) of any known CSPN. In contrast, we find the wind terminal velocity of NGC 2392 ( Teff≃ 45 kK) to be v≃ 300 km s−1, one of the slowest CSPN wind known, probably related to its subsolar metallicity. We have included in the model calculations many elements and high-ionization species previously neglected in analyses of this type, providing additional wind diagnostics such as Ne viiλ973 and Ar viiλ1064. The effects of including these as well as other line-blanketing elements are discussed.

Keywords: stars: abundances; stars: AGB and post-AGB; stars: atmospheres; white dwarfs; planetary nebulae: general; ultraviolet: stars

Journal Article.  16489 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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