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Planetary nebulae: 20 years of Hubble inquiry

  • Bruce Balick (a1)
Abstract

The Hubble Space Telescope has served the critical roles of microscope and movie camera in the past 20 years of research on planetary nebulae (“PNe”). We have glimpsed the details of the evolving structures of neutral and ionized post-AGB objects, built ingenious heuristic models that mimic these structures, and constrained most of the relevant physical processes with careful observations and interpretation. We have searched for close physical binary stars with spatial resolution ~50 AU at 1 AU, located jets emerging from the nucleus at speeds up to 2000 km s−1 and matched newly discovered molecular and X-ray emission regions to physical substructures in order to better understand how stellar winds and ionizing radiation interact to form the lovely symmetries that are observed. Ultraviolet spectra of CNO in PNe help to uncover how stars process deep inside AGB stars with unstable nuclear burning zones. HST broadband imaging has been at the forefront of uncovering surprisingly complex wind morphologies produced at the tip of the AGB, and has led to an increasing realization of the potentially vital roles of close binary stars and emerging magnetic fields in shaping stellar winds.

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References
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Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • ISSN: 1743-9213
  • EISSN: 1743-9221
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-international-astronomical-union
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