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The shock-excited P Cygni nebula

BARLOW, MJ; DREW, JE; MEABURN, J; MASSEY, RM; (1994) The shock-excited P Cygni nebula. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , 268 (2) L29-L34. 10.1093/mnras/268.1.L29. Green open access

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Abstract

We have obtained images in the [N II] λ6584 line of the nebula around the luminous blue variable star P Cygni, using a 4 arcsec wide occulting strip. A nearly circular inner nebula is found, containing many bright condensations, with angular diameters of 21.4 arcsec in the east–west direction and 23.8 arcsec in the north–south direction. Two fainter outer arcs of [N II] emission are also visible, with angular diameters of 1 and 1.5 arcmin. A high-resolution 4900-9000 Å UES spectrum, obtained at a position 9 arcsec west of P Cygni, shows the [N II] λλ7378,7412 doublet to be the strongest feature emitted by the nebula. High-resolution long-slit MES spectra were obtained at multiple positions across the bright inner nebula in order to investigate the density, dynamics and age of the nebula. Our [N II] λ6584 spectra show broad velocity components with an overall expansion velocity of 140km s−1⁠, while our [N II] λ7412 spectra show much narrower velocity components with an overall expansion velocity of only 110km s−1⁠. Our results are consistent with the narrow [N II] emission originating from dense, mainly neutral knots which are being overtaken by the stellar wind from P Cyg at a relative velocity of 100km s−1⁠, with the broader irregular [N II] and [S II] emission arising from bow shocks around the knots. This model provides a natural explanation for the larger [N II] expansion velocities compared to those of [N II].

Type: Article
Title: The shock-excited P Cygni nebula
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/268.1.L29
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/268.1.L29
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: line: profiles, stars: individual: P Cygni, stars: mass-loss, ISM: bubbles
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Physics and Astronomy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096169
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