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Axisymmetry in protoplanetary nebulae: using imaging polarimetry to investigate envelope structure

Gledhill, TM; Chrysostomou, A; Hough, JH; Yates, JA; (2001) Axisymmetry in protoplanetary nebulae: using imaging polarimetry to investigate envelope structure. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , 322 (2) 321 - 342. 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04112.x. Green open access

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Abstract

We use ground-based imaging polarimetry to detect and image the dusty circumstellar envelopes of a sample of protoplanetary nebulae (PPNe) at near-infrared wavelengths. This technique allows the scattered light from the faint envelope to be separated from the glare of the bright central star, and is particularly well suited to this class of object. We detect extended (up to 9-arcsec diameter) circumstellar envelopes around 15 out of 16 sources with a range of morphologies including bipolars and shells. The distribution of scattered light in combination with its polarization (up to 40 per cent) provides unambiguous evidence for axisymmetry in 14 objects, showing this to be a common trait of PPNe. We suggest that the range of observed envelope morphologies results from the development of an axisymmetric dust distribution during the superwind phase at the end of the AGB. We identify shells seen in polarized light with scattering from these superwind dust distributions, which allows us to provide constraints on the duration of the superwind phase. In one object (IRAS 19475+3119) the circumstellar envelope has a two-armed spiral structure, which we suggest results from the interaction of the mass-losing star with a binary companion.

Type: Article
Title: Axisymmetry in protoplanetary nebulae: using imaging polarimetry to investigate envelope structure
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04112.x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04112.x
Language: English
Additional information: © 2001 RAS Definitive versions of articles pre-2013 are available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2966, now published by http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org
Keywords: Astronomy, imaging, Nebulae, Structure
UCL classification: 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/140408
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