Gas Dynamics in Planetary Nebulae: From Macro-structures to FLIERs

Author: Perinotto, M.

Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 274, Numbers 1-2, 2000 , pp. 205-219(15)

Publisher: Springer

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Purpose of this paper is to clarify how Planetary Nebulae (PNe) are very interesting laboratories to study cosmic gas dynamics. I first recall the history of PNe which are generated from low and intermediate mass stars through successive mass loss processes starting in the Reg Giant phase of evolution and continuing also after the termination of the pulsed AGB phase, where most of the nebular mass is believed to be ejected. The correponding stellar winds are the ingredients of the nebula. Their initial properties and subsequent mutual interactions, under the action of the evolving stellar radiation field, are responsible for the properties of the nebula. The observed structures of PNe are considered in detail. Larger scale macroscopic structures (MACS) are examined separately from quite smaller scale microscopic structures (MICS). The formation of MACS, at least in cases of round to moderately elliptical PNe, is shown to be reasonably well understood in terms of existing hydrodynamical models. Considering the kinematical behaviour, MICS can be separated into FLIERs (Fast Low Ionization Emitting Regions) and SLOWERs (slowly moving). Attention is focussed on FLIERs and on the proposed mechanisms to interpret them. Recent observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have provided us with a wealth of detailed (subarcsec) information on the nebular structures. The inner structure of FLIERs is here illustrated to consist of substructures of various shapes with an high degree of individually from object to object, also within the same PN. These new data call for deeper thoretical efforts to solve the problems of cosmic gas dynamics, posed by their observed properties. An ample account is given of the most relevant original works, in an effort to allow the non specialist reader to quickly become acquainted with the status of art in the various aspects of the subject.

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Firenze, Italy

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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