Abell 41: shaping of a planetary nebula by a binary central star

D. Jones, M. Lloyd, M. Santander-García, J.A. López, J. Meaburn, D.L. Mitchell, T.J. O'Brien, Don Pollacco, M.M. Rubio-Díez, N.M.H. Vaytet

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29 Citations (Scopus)


ABSTRACT We present the first detailed spatiokinematical analysis and modelling of the planetary nebula Abell 41, which is known to contain the well-studied close-binary system MT Ser. This object represents an important test case in the study of the evolution of planetary nebulae with binary central stars as current evolutionary theories predict that the binary plane should be aligned perpendicular to the symmetry axis of the nebula. Deep narrow-band imaging in the light of [NII]6584Å, [OIII]5007 Å and [SII]6717+6731Å, obtained using ACAM on the William Herschel Telescope, has been used to investigate the ionization structure of Abell 41. Long-slit observations of the Ha and [NII]6584Å emission were obtained using the Manchester Echelle Spectrometer on the 2.1-m San Pedro Mártir Telescope. These spectra, combined with the narrow-band imagery, were used to develop a spatiokinematical model of [NII]6584Å emission from Abell 41. The best-fitting model reveals Abell 41 to have a waisted, bipolar structure with an expansion velocity of ~40 km s-1 at the waist. The symmetry axis of the model nebula is within 5° of perpendicular to the orbital plane of the central binary system. This provides strong evidence that the close-binary system, MT Ser, has directly affected the shaping of its nebula, Abell 41. Although the theoretical link between bipolar planetary nebulae and binary central stars is long established, this nebula is only the second to have this link, between nebular symmetry axis and binary plane, proved observationally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2312-2318
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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